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Fashion Designer Derek Lam on Cate Blanchett & The Key to Success

By Lisa Pierpont | October 15, 2018 | People Style & Beauty

Fashion designer (and one time Boston College student) Derek Lam shares how he got his start in the industry, which celebs he considers as muses and his current inspirations during a recent event to benefit the Institute of Contemporary Art at Saks Fifth Avenue Boston.


When did you get the design bug?
DEREK LAM: I moved to New York to study art. I was thinking of being a writer and decided it was too solitary. I wanted to do art, a collective way of approaching something artistic, the loop of working with creative people. Design was the perfect opportunity.

What makes you successful?
DL: When I started, it was this rebirth of the fashion industry. It was about creative work; people responded to that. There’s a certain level of quality I imbue in my clothing and brand that’s getting more rarefied. What I do feels personal, I’m not thinking about theoretical or museum fashion. I delve into how we live our life, by incorporating style and having a sense of great values.


Who is the Derek Lam woman?
These women I admire don’t find a uniform, they understand the innate fun with style. Sofia Coppola is a bit low key, but also made strides as a female director. I love iconoclasts like Cate Blanchett. It runs the gambit, who I feel has incredible integrity and passion in how they represent themselves.

What about your 10 Crosby line?
I get to be out of my head and spontaneous. It’s a lot of fun because the client we reach has a different perspective on her lifestyle that I find very inspiring and interesting.


What inspired your Fall and Spring 2019 collections?
Fall was interesting, to take something cliché, equestrian and turn it on its head. I wanted to show the passion, but things we love about equestrian clothing. So it’s pithy, a crazy equestrian in love. The perfect example of a great relationship, a woman and her horse. [In] Spring, women dream of weekends, vacations and parties, not what to wear in the city to work. I concentrated on relaxed pieces with color [for] Monday through Friday, but also great dresses and colors for her dreams.

Photography by: Photography by Michael Blanchard