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December 12, 2019


Sies Marjan creative director Sander Lak makes holiday dressing so easy

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who enjoys their job as much as Sander Lak. He’s exuberant while discussing design, even more animated when it comes to color, and if you want to talk about styling, he’s got all the energy in the world to devote to that. During his recent trip Forty Five Ten, we chatted with Lak about something that’s obviously our minds: the holidays.

Sander Lak

Tell us a little about your Fall and Holiday Collections.
The nice thing about the holiday collection is that it was really small. I’m always telling a big narrative with my other collections, so it was nice proceeding in a narrow way: two pants, a skirt, the perfect coat… The best part about a capsule collection is honing in and being able to really edit things down. I ask myself: What would Sies Marjan be if you only have 6 colors and 10 styles?

There’s an Americana vibe to it, no?
Well, holiday is a very American concept—I mean the idea of it as a season and creating a collection around it. In Europe, holiday just means vacation! So that concept of American holiday helped guide me to ask what does that mean? What colors work with that? What colors don’t? Obviously, there are colors already associated with the season that don’t work! (laughing)

How did you land on the palette you selected?
With colors, I work very instinctually. I don’t know why I gravitate toward certain shades or put certain combinations together. I just go with my gut and at the end I step back and see there’s a thread that goes through it all. For Fall, I was looking a lot at nail polish and makeup colors. The interesting thing about color is that it’s a vehicle and it applies to anything and everything that exists.

Do you think about certain events when you’re designing?
I’m not a red-carpet designer because that’s not so grounded in reality. There are other designers who do an amazing job at that and I love it. It’s just not something I gravitate towards. But I do love the idea of dressing up.

Any tips on holiday party dressing?
Dress up, but ground it. Wear flats or sneakers with a beautiful dress. Keep your hair a little grungy. I don’t like the full, head-to-toe, done-up look. I think there’s something really nice about wearing a neon sparkle dress, but with sneakers and messy hair. It’s not trying too hard; there’s a casualness to it.

Looking ahead, your Spring runway incorporated some lighter, more neutral tones than we’re used to seeing from you.
From one collection to the next I go through phases. I’ll gravitate towards one color palette and then react afterwards. Fall and winter colors were so bold, for the next season I wanted to go softer. I wanted it to feel, in some ways, as if the Fall collection had been left out in the sun—lighter and less-saturated.

Spring marked your eighth women’s collection at Sies Marjan. What have you learned along the way?
What haven’t I learned? I definitely haven’t learned how to keep a clean desk. But everything else has been one gigantic lesson! I’ve grown in both a professional and personal sense—like how to live a grown-up life with a really demanding career. I didn’t underestimate how hard it would be, but I didn’t personally know how it feels until I stepped into it. There’s the weight of responsibility having people work for you and managing everything that comes with that. At Dries Van Noten I focused on the collection. Now, my responsibilities go way beyond that into all the creative and brand elements. But you know, it’s working and I’m proud of that.

What’s next?
So many things. Let’s just say 2020 is going to be an exciting year with new adventures. That’s all I can say.

The Details: Shop Sies Marjan at Forty Five Ten, 1615 Main Street and online here