Crowds gathered at the Rizzoli store on Broadway last night to celebrate the launch of his new book in conversation with American artist Elizabeth Peyton and Dutch designer Sander Lak, former creative director of Sies Marjan The Colors of Sies Marjan. This book collects Lak’s colorful years in Sies Marjan – Tab closed at 2019 shortly after the pandemic began—showing runway and backstage images, as well as artwork and other ephemeral things that have inspired designers.
Peyton and Lak take the stage in color coordinated outfits. Peyton wore a “bright pale rose silk jumpsuit,” as she describes it in her foreword to the book (which begins, “I met Sander because of the color.”) The designer wore a beige The suit; a pink silk shirt, slightly darker than Peyton’s, peeking out from underneath. Can’t believe this wasn’t intentional. “I’ve always wanted to write a book. I think I’m one of the few designers who always enjoys doing my portfolio—it’s always been my favorite part of getting fired and finding a new job,” Lak said in The audience laughed. (Later, when someone in the crowd mentions these alleged firings, Lak reveals that he was never actually sent out. “You totally betray me because I’ve never been fired. Sometimes I try to make the story better And lie, that’s one of those cases.”)
Lak, who worked at Dries Van Noten before launching Sies Marjan, shares his life experience with color. As a young boy growing up in the “African rainforest”, how his mother used to dress him and his brothers in bright red and bright blue to better see them in the “green surroundings” . “She made a very practical choice that my brothers and I didn’t even think about.” How he can’t stand flowers because they’re “too bright.” “In my house, it’s all green, it’s all plants, because I love greens, they’re shades of one color, and I can digest it.”
Photo: Umberto Fratini / Indigital.tv
Photo: Luca Tombolini / Indigital.tv
Photo: Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv 2020
Now that Lak is no longer part of the fashion circus, he can indulge his passion for color in a different way. “I have these relationships with colors that I really like, and when I’m working, I only have one season to really like a color, and then I have to move on,” he explained, before adding—his tongue firmly on his tongue cheek – “I’m currently in a relationship with a certain color and have been going on for over a year now. What color is that? I haven’t said yet, we’re still secretly in a relationship.”
There are poignant moments. “When you finished the book, were you surprised by where the book took you?” Peyton asked. And what initially seemed like a standard answer—”We finished the book on Zoom(…) I travel a lot(…)”—suddenly revealed real emotion. “I didn’t really think about what the moment I had the book in my hand was going to be,” recalls Lak. “And then when I got it, I realized it was kind of the end that I didn’t have before,” he added, his voice cracking. “I didn’t expect to cry.”