When approaching pre-fall, Derek Lam couldn’t get a particular exhibit out of his mind, even though he’d seen it several years ago. “Malevich and the American Legacy at the Gagosian — I kept thinking about it, and about how this Russian painter’s works from the Fifties shaped American creativity of the Seventies,” Lam said.
Specifically, he was drawn to the way Malevich used circles and squares (he called the latter “quadrilateral lines,” Lam noted). The designer embraced that inspiration with bravado, not only for interesting, graphic surface decoration via plaids and single-circle details on skirts and tops, but in his constructions, as in a sweater knitted as a full circle and the sleeve of a dress made as a 3-D square.
The complicated simplicity of those shapes funneled perfectly — and chicly — into Lam’s overarching practicality, with a focus on urbane separates in clean but fluid cuts and a versatility of weights that pre-fall, with its wear-now shipping and long selling, requires.