"I drive by the Frank Gehry building on the West Side Highway every morning on the way to the office," said Derek Lam of the inspiration behind his stellar fall 2007 collection, presented Tuesday afternoon in the Waterfront Building in Chelsea. "The modernity, the asymmetry, the sense of lightness and structure. The seaming and asymmetrical pieces, highlighting form, all come from that."
While many designers seem to be having an architectural moment this season - Shelly Steffee, Yeohlee, Naum and Diane von Furstenberg, to name a few - only Lam took his cue from an architect whose buildings are so closely associated with New York City.
So it's no wonder that the clothes also had a graphic, modern edge and a decidedly urbane feel. Lam opened with an ivory wool coat with an asymmetrical "holster" that encircled the model's torso, and additional body-defining holsters and harnesses turned up on a cool white shirt dress and draped top, while wide black elastic was used to reign in an asymmetrical gold goddess dress.
Thick silver zippers rose vertically from hem to neck like skyscrapers while contrast merrow seaming, asymmetrical knit ribbing and carefully placed patchwork pieces - leather insets at the knee of riding pants, lamé patches on the torso of dresses - defined the body in an unexpected way.
A few of the gowns Lam sent out as a finale appeared hurriedly finished and didn't fit properly, but that was a minor blip in an otherwise inspired, forward-thinking collection.