Sander Lak is in love. With whom — not your business, thank you. But being in love informed his fall collection, which concluded an unintentional trilogy that began a year ago with fall 2018. That collection was about loss and, last spring, about family, Lak said backstage before his show. This collection is “really about love and falling in love.”

A show cynic might be forgiven the assumption of an appealing yet empty backstage soundbite, but Lak delivered. He thought about “what love does and how you react to it and how you see yourself doing things you never thought you would be doing,” and whether he could apply those feelings to making clothes. Therein the essence of his collection: reevaluation, in challenging himself to find beauty in something he’d long hated — lace — and rekindle affection for something from which he thought he’d moved on — neon colors.

The love started with the set, which Lak wanted to feel “magical.” Guests arrived to a dark room with numerous spotlights highlighting a floor covered with gravel like they’d never seen before — zillions of tiny Swarovski crystals. “I love clichés,” he said, “and there’s not a bigger cliché than that sparkles make you happy.”

Yet this was no giddy lovefest, but an artful gem that worked a contrast between soft tailoring and languid dresses. Off-the-shoulder, short-sleeved cuts imbued otherwise practical belted coats with a sense of romance. One in orange topped a crisp shirt and trousers; a navy version went over a lime green blouse with billowing poet’s sleeves. Some looks were riotous — orange trench jacket over a sweater and pants tied up with multiple floating waist sashes, all in different shades of bright pink; others, the essence of calm — silvery-taupe shirt jacket and pants in fluid, shiny silk. Dresses twisted around the body in a single, vibrant color or multiple hues and textures; off-kilter slips worked bold pairings of satin and lace — green with baby blue; fuchsia with orange. It all “floated” — Lak’s word — with lyricism and grace.

For the finale, the models filled the circular show floor, their inviting colors illuminated by the crystals underfoot, as an old song of new love played on the soundtrack. Three years in, Lak has only just begun. Bright lace and promises and, for fall, a compelling collection.

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