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“A lot of designers get nervous coming out to L.A., but to me it feels like home,” said California native Derek Lam when he landed in Los Angeles Thursday for a luncheon at the Tod’s Rodeo Drive store to benefit Couture Cares. “I’d love to have a house here, but the timing needs to be right.”

The designer was joined at the party by L.A. ladies including Jamie Tisch, Crystal Lourd, Rosetta Getty and Angie Harmon. When conversation turned to the business of fashion, Lam said he’s content with his current state of affairs. “I don’t really understand what a lifestyle brand is. I design clothes, bags, shoes. I don’t want to design your house. Your city dictates your lifestyle, not your clothes,” he said.

This story first appeared in the April 21, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

To that point, Lam offered sartorial advice to his guests, including hostess Jessica Alba, not that she or any others needed it. Amber Valletta and Jaime King both rocked his one-piece creations, while everybody else seemed to have received the men’s wear blazer memo. “I love clothes that are simple,” said Alba. “These days, I want pieces that I will be able to wear for more than one season.”

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