Derek Lam has had a busy year. In addition to producing collections for both his eponymous label and the contemporary 10 Crosby line, he also debuted a multi-season athleisure collection with Athleta. Now, he's officially in the beauty business with the launch of his new fragrance — or fragrances, more accurately.
Lam, an overachiever, just launched 10 fragrances under the moniker of Derek Lam 10 Crosby, which is interesting for several reasons. Rather than just launching a pricey scent pillar, he chose to go with 10 different scents. "It's something a lot of designers think about, doing fragrance. It's an expectation. As a designer, I don't always want to do the expected thing," Lam said. "I wanted it not to be about this monolithic fragrance or this one thing that's supposed to represent the whole brand. I can express different personalities."
Then there's the fact that Lam didn't launch it under his luxury label, but rather chose the more affordable 10 Crosby designation. "The fragrance market is kind of in a place of transition — there are all of the classics and there seem to be a lot of voices in the upper end," he explained. "This was something different. It was like we could make a really big impact in this market with a really creative concept." And then, of course, there are the millennials. The launch is aimed at that coveted 25- to 35-year-old demographic, as well as what the brand is calling the "millennial-minded." (What this means is that if you were the same age as Ross and Rachel when you watched Friends in the '90s, but you also like your products to be fun with an element of individualism, you're millennial-minded.)
The fragrances were inspired by moments that Lam saw while looking out the window of his 10 Crosby office in downtown Manhattan. "Hi-fi," for example, was inspired by the moment "you hear someone blasting music from the car window and want to join in," according to Lam. The scents, which he called a "fragrance wardrobe," run the gamut from musky to floral to an edgier salty wood and amber concoction, and are all infinitely wearable. And because presentation is important, the bottles and/or juice coordinate to the scent. "Rain Day" is a light green; "Silent St.," a soft musk inspired by new snow in the city, is a milky white. My three favorites upon first sniff were Silent St,, which is beautifully soft, "Rainy Day," because I can't resist anything with neroli or vetiver and it has both, and "Blackout," which features a chai tea essence.
Four different perfumers developed the range, which you can currently buy as a 10-piece preview collection for $95 at Sephora. (Sephora just announced that it's rejiggering the way it markets fragrance, which will include carrying more niche brands and store exclusives, so it's probably not a coincidence that they picked up Lam's splashy debut as an exclusive.)
One final tidbit to note: Lam partnered with Butterfly Beauty, which was founded by Robin Burns-McNeill, who helped launch Calvin Klein's Obsession in the '80s. Butterfly is also involved in marketing the Olsen twins' Elizabeth and James Nirvana scent duo, which they've since formulated in creative ways — there's a scented dry shampoo and hand cream. So, it seems like a safe bet to expect more creative launches from Lam, thanks to this partnership.
"This is the first launch of beauty and body for me. I love to keep it spontaneous and keep it unexpected," said Lam. "It's what the market in general has been missing."