We Talk To Sander Lak Of Sies Marjan About His Bruce Weber-Shot Campaign
It seems wrong, and quite frankly incorrect, to continue to call Sander Lak, and his buzzy New York label Sies Marjan, an up-and-comer – with international stores queuing up to stock his designs, a bevy of famed fans and a campaign photographed by the legendary Bruce Weber, it’s safe to say he’s up, and come.
Actress Isabella Rossellini is that campaign’s magnificent star, photographed in the Hamptons alongside a gathering of men and women who make up Sander’s Sies Marjan family, including Isabella’s own son Roberto. And, if you look closely, you can spot Sander himself. He’s the one up the tree.
Here, he talks to Ten about the campaign, a campaign which doubles as a preview of his upcoming, and very first, menswear capsule collection.
Jack Moss: What was it like shooting with Bruce Weber? He’s shot so many completely iconic campaigns over the years…
Sander Lak: It’s a total cliché to say “a dream come true,” but in this case it actually was! I have always been obsessed with photography, and I have a list of people I’d love to work with. He was on the top of that list, so when we met and he said he’d love to do something, I almost fainted! Bruce is such an icon and there is something both timeless and nostalgic about his work that I have always loved. He really knows how to make people look beautiful.
JM: The casting is always really important to you – why did you choose Isabella Rossellini to star? What do the rest of the cast stand for?
SL: When Bruce agreed to do the campaign, we started immediately brainstorming with Anita Bitton, our casting director, on who to use for this. We wanted a diverse set of people – different characters, ethnicities, ages, shapes and sizes. A set of people that were all completely unique but that could be bound together by Sies Marjan. Isabella Rossellini came to mind first, she has such an amazing history with Bruce. Once she agreed, we started building on the cast, we were so lucky they all said yes! We added her son Roberto, and continued making groups and couples. Lexi and her boyfriend Ben, Sasha Pivovarova, one of my favorite models and her stunning daughter, Dilone was paired with models that Bruce likes, and a little girl named Legend Pearl Phillips, who we imagined as the child between Roberto and Lorna with her beautiful red hair.
JM: The campaign’s set in the Hamptons in the last days of summer – how did that whole story come about?
SL: We have done several projects with very different photographers like Nigel Shafran and Blommers & Schumm, and I always feel that there’s no point in collaborating with someone whose work you love, only to make them do something completely different. I kept thinking of the feeling that I get when I think about Bruce Weber’s work. Not actually looking at it, but feeling it. I did the same with the collection we were going to shoot. With both Bruce and the collection, I kept feeling happiness and warmth, the feeling of a beautiful summer day spent with friends and sunshine in your face. The feeling of home and comfort and beauty. I also felt that I wanted to play with this idea of who Bruce is and what he stands for, especially since we were working with Isabella Rossellini. I didn’t want it to feel nostalgic, more of a celebration of the work he does combined with the clothes and the story of what Sies Marjan stands for.
JM: Tell us a bit more about the menswear capsule (we’re very excited)…
SL: When the buyers come in and see the men’s pieces made for me, they always say that they would love to have the styles I’m wearing. We came to the point where we had to react to that. I’m a trained menswear designer and I have always done both menswear and womenswear at the brands I worked for. I graduated with an MA in Menswear at Saint Martins. I didn’t want to make a full menswear collection, that would require much more consideration, and for now, I feel very comfortable with keeping the menswear closely related to the main stories of Sies Marjan womenswear. We decided to do a capsule collection of a pant, a shirt, a coat, and a jacket. We use the same materials that we use for the women’s collection. It’s basically the stuff I wear every day. It was actually really fun to only work with a few styles so we could really focus on fit and material choices, and not be distracted by the complexities of building a whole collection around it. And now I don’t have to buy what I want from other designers anymore, I can just wear Sies Marjan 24/7!
Photographs by Bruce Weber