Derek Lam is one of the most promising young talents on the New York scene, a position underscored by the list of partial sponsors for his sophomore runway presentation—Ecco Domani, Vogue, Swarovski, Shiseido, Maurice Villency, and Saga Furs each contributed to the cost of the show, in the august confines of New York’s National Arts Club. The investment turned out to be a sound one. Lam’s 24-piece collection displayed the attitude, exuberance, and craftsmanship of a much more experienced designer (which shouldn’t be that surprising, given the fact that he spent 12 years working for Michael Kors).

Lam’s fall mood was part Viennese formality, part Gypsy ease, and his strength as a mixologist came through in some superb pairings: luxurious cashmere boyfriend sweaters with shiny jacquard dresses, or a striped mink scarf worn with lamé brocade pajama shorts. The designer reprised the softly structured strapless dresses he had shown for spring, rendering them in glittery fabrics with jeweled embellishments, and balanced comfort and opulence in a floral-print vintage-silk georgette dress that flowed with every step. He also introduced softer, longer tea gowns and Empire-waisted peasant dresses. The final evening gowns were stunners that lifted even the Some Girls lyrics on the soundtrack—“You’re the prettiest girl in the world”—out of the realm of irony or cliché. Lam’s collection was relevant, contemporary, and genuinely very pretty, indeed.