Everyone who has seen a movie they love hopes for a sequel. As the audience, we can’t wait to experience the newest adventures of the characters we revere, know and love. A successful sequel hinges on striking the perfect balance of giving people enough of what they initially loved about the first installment with just enough twists, turns, nuances, drama and intrigue that push the envelope a step forward. But not too far. Sequels fail because they step too far outside the box, or play it too safe. The ones that succeed go just far enough, but stay true to what’s original.
I love me a good movie, but it should come as no surprise that I’ll take a fashion collaboration sequel over a movie sequel any day (sorry Star Wars episode VII!). And the best part? I don’t have to wait several decades for it to drop!
Part Deux of the Derek Lam 10C + Athleta collaboration drops today. Like the original, it seamlessly fuses functionality with a fashion forward aesthetic, achieved both through couture silhouette and fabric choices — all in an athleisure line. But like a perfect sequel, it goes a step further by incorporating an on-trend, oldie-but-goodie style — a 70’s flair – in a completely innovative, mind blowing way that exactly the hook every sequel needs!
So much strikes me about this collaboration….where to begin!
First, it is replete with amazing athleisure and athletic pieces we have come to know and love of Athleta. The En Route Jogger Pants; the Union Top; the Tower Pant; and the Tower Track Jacket, to name a few, will keep you as cozy as they do stylish. Completely interchangeable, they function both as their own capsule collection; and pair seamlessly with your favorite Athleta pieces — whether pants (think Aspire, Jogger, Metro), or tops (hi Odyssey top!).
True to form, the athletic wear capitalizes on the first collaboration’s design genius and aesthetic, and features similar creative color blocking patters to reflect aerial views of urban cities. This facilitate mixing and matching with earlier pieces from the collaboration. Some notable new arrivals include The Layer Up tank and long sleeve shirt: the stripe detail peeking out under a cropped sweater or jacket is a great little peekaboo pop. Yet, the pieces perfectly function as a base layer for winter outdoor activities. The Union tank is far more than just a tank — the neckline highlights the shoulders like no other. The linear pattern embedded within the fabric mimics cars lined up in traffic — perhaps those lining the streets of 10 Crosby and others in Manhattan.
You may look at the Highline tank and think – cute.
I see much more. Knowing the history of the brand, and Derek Lam’s Inspiration (see my earlier blog), this piece is much more. I’d like to think it pays homage to the infamous High Line in NYC (the disused New York Central Rail line turned linear park, which due to private efforts, is now a crown jewel in New York, known for its linear parks and artistic communities). Leave it to Derek Lam 10C and Athleta to design a top that literally creates the High Line — side stripes like rail way tracks–on either side of this piece. Somehow, this simple crop top embodies the High Line project’s innovation and creativity — and leaves me gasping for air. I will own this piece because of the new creative design heights it reaches; and because, in some way, it symbolizes the collaboration’s bold ingenuity.
Second, to find a single collaboration that does cashmere, silks and leather in an elevated way that incorporates fashion forward design, on trend elements, functionality and versatility is novel. Unsurprisingly, this collaboration does it — and astoundingly well. Almost magically so. Cashmere sweaters with bell sleeves embrace the 70’s vibe that is THE trend this winter — but in a way that is so very on brand for both design houses (Athletic (aka Athleta); and so very Derek Lam 10 C (fashion forward, sleek and contemporary, with athletic undercurrents)). Genius. Pure genius.
The blocking technique on the Central Dress, Central Sweaters and Elevate Jackets are universally flattering, blending the colors of the season (baby pinks, black and white) in a modern, edgy yet classic way. The sweater and jacket will elevate athleisure pants, while the Central Dress is the modern woman’s perfect knit dress: it pairs as seamlessly with leggings and sneakers as well as it does with heels and a statement necklace (or even pearls!) for work. Don’t overlook the Dwell Cashmere pant. It’s a must for pares ski, for lounging and sipping cocoa or a hot toddy; or even paired with a leather jacket (even your Derek Lam 10C + Athleta Downtown Jacket!), peep toe booties and tee shirt for an elevated urban athletic look.
Speaking of leather, the Elevate jacket is the modern woman’s varsity jacket! I dare you to find a woman who did not covet the varsity athlete’s letterman jackets in high school! Fast forward, this one provides a more sophisticated yet purely sporty vibe to even the most conservative of LBDs, pencil skirts, slacks, or your Athleta jogger pants!
Third, I’m obsessed with the Uptown Jackets. Seriously?! These pieces epitomize why I am –and why you should be– obsessed with this collaboration. These pieces push the envelope literally into the stratosphere! The craftsmanship, fabric choices and silhouettes combined together are barrier breaking in this fashion genre. The Uptown coat (left above) could be worn on a red carpet — and will be my coat of choice this fall to every holiday party. The Satin Uptown Funnel Jacket is the more affordable version of the first collaboration’s Leather Downtown Jacket that is as party ready as it is casual — with the same functionality and draw as its leather older sister – but without the price tag. And the Pink Uptown Bomber jacket is finally my entree to being the Pink Lady from “Grease” I’ve longed to be ever since I was a little girl singing “Beauty School Dropout” along with Frenchie and Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons. Over my grey wool Jogger pants, or a pencil skirt, it’s going to be my new fall go to –leaving everyone tickled pink, and the T Birds clamoring for more!
A sure fire winner, this sequel is not to be missed. Run, don’t walk, to Athleta Corte Madera this Friday (or your local Athleta store or online at athleta.com) to snatch these limited edition pieces.