No show this season. No presentation. No fantasy inspiration story to reference. Derek Lam presented his spring collection with zero fanfare by appointment in his showroom. It was about clothes designed for his client and no other reason. “Even when I’ve done small presentations, it affects the way I’m designing. There are a lot of pieces that I’m compelled to do for a runway effect,” Lam said. “I wanted to go really quiet this season.”

Lam has never been about the noise. He’s not a showman, and though his collections have very often looked beautiful on the runway, it’s not why his customer shops. He keyed in on things he likes and she will like: color, plaids, denim and sophisticated sportswear that’s wearable, but has a presence. A lovely sleeveless top with a strong shoulder was done in plaid on the back and beautiful black gazar jacquard on the front, a fabric also used on a slim dress with a wrapped belt at the waist. Per Lam’s philosophy toward modern suiting — (“It has to be done with a playful twist, otherwise no one wants to look that bossy”) — an oversized black-and-white gingham jacket was worn with kick-flare cropped pants. Dresses were chic but sporty, cut midlength with a slim line and definitive waist. A magenta poplin style had a ruffled hem and an ivory silk style looked like a blouse tucked into a tailored skirt.

Outside the fashion week bubble, the collection won’t rank as quiet. A woman wearing these clothes will be noticed for her good taste and style. As for returning to the runway, Lam says, never say never. But he’ll show on his terms, when he feels like it.

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