The Four Seasons’ Pool Room at half past noon. An invitation for lunch beginning a full half-hour before show time so as not to delay the proceedings. Sparkling, still or Champagne, if you pleased. The most uncivilized thing at Derek Lam’s fall show were the mozzarella sticks, served on a silver tray. And, damn, they were good. Lam dispensed with clamoring to be heard by the masses above the fashion week din a while ago, downscaling his runway production to create a luxury experience for a niche audience of industry professionals, which likely mirrors the way he takes care of his clients. It’s nice work if you can get it.

As for the collection — very nice clothes if you can afford them. Lam does lovely American sportswear, informed by the classic but always keeping an open mind. There’s a big bohemian — always tasteful —influence. For fall he took on both the traditional and wild side of horse culture, mixing well-bred equestrianism with the ranch and processing it with modernist refinement.

There were luscious double-face ponchos with sporty zip-up turtleneck and leather yokes, a polished riff on jockey shirts in black satin with a graphic chevron pattern over tailored trousers with racing stripes down the side, a cognac double-face gabardine cape over a quilted satin pencil skirt, and gorgeous tailored houndstooth jackets. Knee-high Western riding boots, bucket bags big enough to feed a stallion from, and dresses and coats done with abstract horse silhouettes hammered the theme home. But here’s betting no one in the room, even those indoctrinated into riding culture, saw the theme as commentary on male/female dynamics. After the show Lam said relationships between men and women were on his mind. “I tried to find something inspiring about relationships, so I did the relationship between a woman and her horse,” he said. “They always tell me it’s amazing because it’s about sharing power, but ultimately respect.”


Regardless of men and horses, a woman should be able to enjoy a beautiful relationship with Lam’s clothes.

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