Derek Lam’s All-American designs represent a lot of things.
The prints are, for the most part, entrenched with subtle beauty. Other times, they’re fabricated with bold, intricate accents. And, there’s always a nod to femininity and traditional craftsmanship. This fall, the 2005 CFDA Award winner stayed true to his brand’s American sportswear aesthetic by donning his models with looks that could only be attributed to a more sophisticated Cher Horowitz.
Played by Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless”, Cher’s style is equally as iconic as the 90’s movie. However, unlike the highly acclaimed film, Lam’s collection was anything but clueless — rather, his practical silhouettes, outlined against yellow plaid prints, showcased a motley of garments that were, clearly, in the know. From business chic sleeveless shirts and midi dresses, to pajama-like pants and inspector-like trench coats, his Spring/Summer 2019 showroom was dripping in yellow plaid prints. While no pleated mini skirts made an appearance like they did in the fictional high-school’s hallways, the designer’s black and white plaid blazer drew a wise enough parallel to transport us back to Beverly Hills High with the superficial teen and her ex-stepbrother lawyer, Josh Lucas (played by Paul Rudd).
It’s hard to say what exactly inspired Lam to weave bold yellow plaid throughout his collection, but for “Clueless’” costume designer, Mona May, her decision was derived from California’s grunge scene in the 90’s. It was about taking flannel shirts and baggy pants and turning them into feminine masterpieces to dress their main shopaholic character. But as most creative things go, May’s iconic yellow plaid suit, she admitted to Vanity Fair, was actually inspired by Dolce and Gabbana. “For the movie, I mixed thrift store with designer because I did not have a lot of money in my budget to buy designer things. It was about taking fashion from all different sources and predict what would be on the street six months ahead, like a fashion designer would. Amy and I both love plaid, and I think there is nothing better to have than a quintessential plaid skirt for a girl’s first day of school. But we had to go further with that [idea] for the movie, so we had to have the complete suit,” she said.
Lam’s collection truly represents the aware Cher, who is all grown up navigating the world with an iced coffee in one hand and a stain remover in the other. She’s not getting ready for her first day of school as much as she is prepping for a job interview in a Derek Lam midi dress.
Bonnie Azoulay is a Lifestyle intern at the Forward.