From the first look out, a taupe suede trenchcoat with a big fur stole, it was clear that Derek Lam would be going the give-the-ladies-what-they-want route. There was no reinventing the wheel here, just superluxe versions of the sportswear his girls know and love him for, in a gorgeous warm and soothing palette of beige, gray, camel, and gold, with touches of navy and black. Backstage, Lam said his colors and textures were inspired by Yves Saint Laurent's interiors, and the mood by Louis Malle's 1958 movie, Ascenseur pour l'échafaud, which starred Jeanne Moreau as a wicked film noir heroine. That would explain the preponderance of dramatic outerwear, including a number of furs, most of which were rendered in coyote—good news, girls, that should help to keep the prices down.
Don't think retro, though. Lam touched on more than a few of what are shaping up to be Fall's key items, including skinny black leather pants, a slightly oversize tuxedo jacket, a cape, and draped and wrapped jersey dresses. One with snaps down the side of the torso looked especially sexy. Unusually, the designer sidestepped big evening dresses, which is usually a strong suit, focusing instead on strapless cocktail frocks in amber georgette and sand-colored crepe de chine. There is such a thing as playing it too safe. Lam's not necessarily guilty of that, but you walked away wanting something more.