A California native, Derek Lam let a little nostalgia for the motherland infuse his spring collection — Richard Neutra, Palm Springs and the Rat Pack. Once the show was under way one could trace those references to the clean, architectural lines of a skirt, the sunny desert colors and a modern riff on the retro men’s wear look of a color-blocked shirt and cuffed straight-leg jeans. But the show was less about grand thematics than presenting snappy sportswear with crisp, minimalist polish and a distinctly American look. Tunics and sweaters were belted over A-line skirts; there were utility and tank dresses, some with square embroideries that looked like eyelet.
Prints, specifically the symmetrical, engineered kind already on the cusp of overload this season, showed up midway on matching pants and shirts with a graphic, Pucci-esque vibe. They were energetic and on trend, yet Lam’s plainer things looked far fresher by comparison. Textured knits — a white, clingy c.rocheted dress, a yellow honeycomb jacquard tank — were a perky highlight. So were bonded jackets and skirts done in leather, something Lam knows his way around after five years as creative director at Tod’s.