This was Kate Wallace’s first full collection for Derek Lam 10 Crosby. She had started her role as the label’s creative director by wrapping up its resort offering. Spring was an opportunity for Wallace to set her intentions for the brand, which, as she said during a preview, revolve around “the idea of simplification through abstraction.”
That concept, said Wallace, was borrowed from a reference to artist Ellsworth Kelly’s work. Kelly was known for his hard-edge painting technique and associations with minimalism. Like the artist, Wallace looked to distill her collection to the essential, largely prioritizing monochromatic dressing and simplified line work in her construction. Kelly’s planes of color came alive in bright cashmere sweaters that reversed to different hues, and in Wallace’s mindful color blocking, but it was her considerate silhouette work that did most of the talking.
Wallace built her spring assortment with the goal of elongating the silhouette. “It comes from the legacy of the classic 10 Crosby flared shape, but here concentrating on vertical lines to elongate the body,” she said. There were no horizontal lines bisecting the body in this lineup, but an effort to place darts, seams, and style lines all running vertically across each piece. Diagonal lines pointing to the ground wrapped around sleeves in button downs and across bias cut skirts, and darts placed on the abdomen in knitted and papery silk tops created soft and flattering peplums. Most compelling were a tomato red suit with a diagonal lapel and a single button, and a sage twill jacket cut to subtly cinch the waist.
A touch of pizazz came from floral prints—one minimal and modern, the other busier and more commercial—applied onto sheer sequin separates. But still more charming was Wallace’s everyday wear, imbued with an awareness of what it means to live in these clothes. “Supple” is a word that recurred as we walked through the showroom and studied each texture—Wallace explored fabrics like a delightfully mushy Tencel denim and a tight but forgivingly stretchy suiting. “These clothes should hold her,” said the designer, “but they should also support her.”