A cliché, definitely, but if there’s a time and a place to employ a pasta metaphor to explain your collection it’s in Milan for an Italian megabrand. “Al dente” is how Derek Lam described his spring collection for Tod’s, specifically the ready-to-wear. “It’s slightly undercooked,” he said Friday at the presentation at the Villa Necchi Campiglio. “That’s where the accessories come in.” By that he meant that the clothes were crisp and unfettered yet belied expert technique. Leather, of course, was the star ingredient. There were great-looking, popped collar blazers made from leather bonded to linen, gauze halter gowns with leather trim, and a simple tank dress that was black leather on the top with a skirt that appeared to be denim but was actually — you guessed it — leather.Fresh and minimalist with a clean palette of black, natural and washed-out denim, the clothes provided a neutral canvas against which the accessories popped. Strong mineral tones were the color message, with news in the Ago sandal, an archival style — classic stacked heel with a simple strap around the ankle and one across the toes — distinguished by its pinched, hand-molded leather sole. It’s a sophisticated shoe suitable for everyday use, but two other updates on house signatures were, frankly, a lot more fun. First, the Gommino loafers were reimagined in edgy embroideries and various beaded motifs. Then, the D Bags came decked like they were being shipped straight to Vegas, one in printed sequins, another dripping in fringy chains, another fully studded. Out of character, yes, but as Lam explained, the understated silhouette “can take all this absurd, fun work and not look ridiculous.”

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