Sander Lak has arrived. He launched his Sies Marjan collection to fabulous reviews last season, and for spring, proved impervious to sophomore slump. The collection he showed on Sunday was a compelling combination of gentility and punch, the former derived from languid lines and the latter, from vibrant, saturated color — bright orange, acid greed, deep sapphire.
That “narrative of color,” as the show notes read, was the collection’s starting point, one that might have turned tiresome were Lak’s perspective not so refined. In a skilled counterpoint of tailoring and flou, he both revealed the body and shrouded it in flyaway shapes. To that end, cutaway triangle forms — slipdresses and camisoles — featured prominently, as did dresses that skimmed the torso before billowing into controlled fullness.
Yet lest it sound demure, it was anything but. There was an element of otherworldly goddess to the folded and twisted shapes that, despite some complicated cuts, looked unfettered. This goddess comingled elements of artiste and street. To that end, one could identify references — and not Lak’s former employer Dries Van Noten, except in their obvious, shared love of color and the quality of execution. (One assumes that Lak learned a thing or two about execution chez Van Noten; these clothes were exquisitely made.) The fact is that wherever there’s a street reference, there’s a debt to Helmut Lang, just as a certain type of precision tailoring traces back to Yves Saint Laurent. Lak’s streetwear is prettier and, by virtue of renderings in pink and baby blue, girlier than Lang’s ever were. As for the modernist goddess thing — ethereal crisscross bodices recalled Romeo Gigli.
These references may or may not have been conscious. And it doesn’t matter. With his openness to contrary stimuli, Lak has brought to fashion a distinctive, highly developed aesthetic. For spring, it intrigued.