Following Spring's ode to East Coast beach towns, Derek Lam's Fall collection was a celebration of the American West. "Hasn't everybody at one point or another had the fantasy of being a cowboy? A cowgirl?" he asked backstage. Well, as grounded in reality as his chic clothes looked today, even gals who never dreamed of life on the range will find plenty of stuff to like.
Despite the fringe, the blanket embroideries, even the Albertus Swanepoel-designed cowboy hats, the mood remained decidedly urban. That's partly because Lam showed so many statement coats, a city woman's must-have if ever there was one. His customer can choose from streamlined caramel moleskin with black vintage-leather sleeves, a black and white knitted fox cardigan, or a sand-colored shearling bomber edged with dark-brown leather. The other factor that made this collection look so right was its strict, tailored silhouette. The charcoal silk gazar flaring trousers—shown with a shrunken marled wool sweater and a terra-cotta suede apron belt—are contenders for the pants of New York fashion week. As for the wooden platform boots he showed with them, we saw so many approving nods from the audience, it's certain there will be wagonloads of girls eager to rustle up a pair.
Another positive note: After a year's absence, two floor-length dresses made the runway, one in black crepe jersey with a plunging cowl neck and the other in draped ivory silk jersey. The recession may not officially be over, but Lam's clearly feeling optimistic. Nowadays, few things are as seductive as that.