Derek Lam appears to have his act together. Two years ago, Sandbridge Capital bought a minority stake in his company, and Lam took the investment, put his head down and turned out a string of excellent collections that would seem to occupy a sweet spot in luxury fashion: The clothes are beautiful, distinct and not overexposed. Sounds like a fatigued luxury consumer’s — and retailer’s — delight.
Fall was a win. Lam’s show notes named Alexander Calder, Richard Avedon and Penelope Tree as references for his collection of “form, balance and joy.” A whiff of Sixties and Seventies came through in the shrunken curves of a navy crepe pea jacket with fur pockets and cropped, gently flared pants, and a belted white poplin shirtdress based on an austere, high-necked Victorian blouse — but the overall impression was one of deluxe modern classicism.
Graphic motifs, strong color and clean, calm romance existed in equilibrium in a run of show that was consistent but never repetitious. A mauve double-face wool duffle coat with horn-shaped toggles over cream wide-leg double wool trousers was softly sporty. A patchwork, abstracted plaid calf-hair coat with a fur collar over a ribbed sweater and A-line cognac leather skirt used extravagant materials in a chic, sensible way. Two long-sleeve, beaded crochet dresses — one in cobalt with a high neck; the other with a deep V, layered over a ribbed, ruffled turtleneck — were made for unfussy evening elegance. Lam deserved extra credit for the entire range of boots and booties, crafted from leathers in offbeat classic colors.