Is everyone gunning to be the next Ralph Lauren? First it was Brandon Maxwell with club Brandon’s on Saturday night, showing Texas prep with country club blazers, blue jeans, logo shirts and cowboy boots. Then on Sunday, Sies Marjan designer Sander Lak had models descending Surrogate’s Courthouse Beaux Arts staircase like they were in the Rhinelander Mansion, wearing liquid-silk gowns, dressed-up denim, crocodile embossed trenchcoats and riding boots and twirling like Fifties-era mannequins.
“I started to have a dislike of anything kitschy or campy or reality TV, satire or sarcasm or irony,” said Lak, who may also have been rebelling a bit against the psychedelic tie-dye and rainbow raver pieces that have defined him in recent seasons.
“I know I have more in my head than just that but as long as it keeps going, I’m not going to reject it,” added the designer, who is still offering some commercial collection items in iridescent, rainbow reflective and dégradé fabrications. “Women still want it, but are also looking for the next thing,” he said, adding of his more refined spring 2020 inspiration, “I am just over the whole high-low thing, and all I want to do is surround myself with beautiful, expensive, considered things, just quality, quality, quality,” said the master colorist, who cut his teeth at Dries Van Noten before launching his label in 2016.
The fashion industry can only hope that young consumers come to the realization that investing in luxury that lasts is a sustainable way forward.
For Sander, it was glossy lipstick and nail lacquer shades that inspired the palette and polish of this outing. When asked if he has his sights set on launching his own beauty collection, he replied: “I would love to! I have a color card already!”
On the runway, punchy and pale hues mixed as in a makeup kit — a draped silk dress and plastic-coated jersey coat in wet-look lipstick red, for example, or a blush-pink snake oversize blazer, wrap skirt and silk pussy bow blouse that made for a total look with sandals to match, or a strapless silk azure-blue gown Lak unabashedly referred to as “the Ralph Lauren dress.”
He seemed to pay homage to other American greats, too, among them Halston, with sensual, draped dresses, and Calvin Klein, with statement coats and his first blue jeans “elevated, unwashed and sharply tailored.”
The only print in the collection was a multianimal pattern — “as if you would roll a crocodile in a bath of different colors,” the designer said playfully. As for the lineup of clothing and accessories that matched (all except the imaginary rainbow beast, at least), he pointed out, “It was nice for me to work with this idea of a total wardrobe.”
When the confetti gun went off for the colorful finale, the designer had good reason to celebrate.