Sies Marjan, with all its flash and finesse, was too beautiful for this world. Founded in 2016 by designer Sander Lak, the New York-based brand offered a daring proposition: an American luxury label offering the same level of elegance as its European forebears. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic changed things.
Fueled by funding from billionaire couple Howard and Nancy Mark, Sies Marjan operated nearly autonomously from its 23rd St. headquarters. There, it housed rolls of fabric, samples, a few meeting rooms, and a full staff of in-house craftspeople.
The concept of an American luxury label making everything in-house, including even some of its bespoke textiles, remains relatively unheard of.
Domestic high-end brands like Fear of God and Tom Ford make plenty of things in America but not under one roof. Even Thom Browne, the contemporary American renegade, produces plenty of shrunken suits in Japan rather than his brand’s base in TriBeCa.
Sies Marjan was a unique experiment but, like most good things, it couldn’t last. As COVID-19 shuttered the world and its wealthy backers pulled out, Sies Marjan ceased to exist after issuing its Spring/Summer 2020 collection.
But Lak, the house’s founder and creative director, didn’t stop working. He’s partnered with publisher Rizzoli to create The Colors of Sies Marjan, a tome that could accurately capture the essence of Sies Marjan’s all-too-concise legacy.
“This very personal book is about Sies Marjan, but really it is about color!” Lak enthused to Highsnobiety.
“How color infused our collections and shaped the vision of the brand, so much so that this book is organized by color rather than year or seasons. Images range from fittings, looks, runway shows and ad campaigns to research imagery, inspirations and found objects.”
The visuals inside The Colors of Sies Marjan are accompanied by interviews from luminaries and peers like artist Elizabeth Peyton, who provides the forward, Marc Jacobs, Isabella Rossellini, composer Ludwig Göransson, and architect Rem Koolhaas, whose AMO oversaw one of Sies Marjan’s final collaborations.
“I had an impulse to talk to people across a range of disciplines and discuss how color informs their work,” Lak continued. “[The book is] a true labor of love that I can’t wait to share with everyone!”
Available for $65 on Rizzoli’s site and stores, The Colors of Sies Marjan is a 400-page love letter to a brand that burned quickly and brightly, leaving behind only pretty colors.