In celebration of the launch of Derek Lam’s new contemporary collection 10 Crosby Derek Lam on my-wardrobe.com (check out the accessible price points!), we caught up with the man himself to talk about Fashion Telepathy, Kate Middleton and New York Fashion.
1. If you could give women one pieces of fashion advice what would it be?
DL: Understand the proportions of your body and dress with those perimeters in mind. I don’t think there should be one ultimate body type that can wear fashion – but it’s about knowing what works.
2. Of all the women who have worn your designs who were you most excited about?
DL: I actually have to say whenever I see my mother wear my clothes it make me feel so happy. She’s close to 70 and still loves fashion. I’m always so pleasantly surprised when I see that she is happy enough with the work that I do to wear it.
3. What the biggest lesion you’ve learnt in fashion?
DL: Never say never! Things that you might think ‘No way, I’ll never do that, that would never work’ you suddenly find yourself getting excited about. It’s all about keeping the eyes fresh and not confining yourself and playing with the rules and twisting them.
4. Are there any new designers that you are excited about?
DL: I love what Joseph Altuzarra is doing, I would say he’s arrived rather than being completely up and coming but his work is really exciting. Tabitha Simmons’ shoe collection also is really exciting - the quality, beauty and integrity that goes into her work is amazing. There’s a long list great talent coming out of New York right now. New York always has an incredible energy and there’s huge motivation because you can see the work of you peers.
5. What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
DL: I don’t know if it would be a surprise but I’m actually a very shy person. I chose fashion because I thought that my work would speak for itself and I wouldn’t have to be a personality to promote the brand. But the world now, you really need to truly communicate. By nature that’s something that is hard for me.
6. What do you like to do in your spare time?
DL: My greatest pleasure is reading. It takes me away more than anything else and it’s a relationship that I never want to end because it separates me from my thoughts. My favourite right now is Zadie Smith.
7. Are there any current fashion trends happening that you don’t like?
DL: I’m not such a big fan of rigid, very structured clothing. I love tailoring, but when a woman’s body is lost in her clothing or it looks like the clothing wears her – I hate that.
8. If you were Kate Middleton’s stylist for the day what would you dress her in?
DL: I think she’s done such an amazing job. She doesn’t have a professional choosing her wardrobe which I think is such a rarity. She does tailoring really well and everybody can take away from how she has made style choices which are both suitable to her position and her body shape. I do love her the most when she is in that ethereal mode in a chiffon or Grecian style dress. I’d love to put her in something like that.
9. Have you got a lifetime ambition that you haven’t yet fulfilled?
DL: Aging with dignity is probably my ultimate ambition. It’s an on-going process! I mean it in a funny way but also in an attempt to remain relevant and curious and excited by the work I do and being happy with changes in life.
10. What would you say the biggest high you get from your job?
DL: Working with other creative people is my biggest pleasure and a massive indulgence. I love it when you get on the same page as someone – it’s like fashion telepathy or something.
11. Describe a typical Sunday at your house.
DL: I get up and head away from the city and go down to the beach at Fire Island. I grab a cup of coffee, sit in a deck chair, shake the cobwebs and try to stop thinking about Monday.
12. If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting out in the fashion industry now what would you say?
DL: It’s about building an incredible support system – fashion isn’t a solitary endeavour and you need a community to support you. Those relationships are everything.