"It's about New York at night, racing through Times Square in a cab and seeing only flashes of color," said Derek Lam of the influences behind his latest show. From the very first look—a cowl-neck sweater worn with a ruffle shirt, black leggings, and killer leather booties—this new collection made Lam's spring sojourn in Hawaii look rather mild. As the old saying goes, there's no place like home.

Leggings were an important building block for the fall line, functioning as a sexy, minimalist pedestal of sorts, upon which to display his fabulous outerwear. A maxi-length trench with silver fox cuffs rendered his popular crinkle-cotton version from a few seasons back immediately obsolete. Capes, too, are becoming a signature. Lam did long and short versions in salt-and-pepper tweed, as well as evening styles. One was lavishly embroidered with velvet rosettes, another came in ruffled stripes of black dévoré.

Cocktail hour was where those Times Square colors kicked in. Fall's must-have one-shoulder silhouette came in turquoise laundered georgette, and sunshine-yellow or kelly-green bodices topped gold jacquard and black crepe skirts, respectively. What Lam lacked in showstopping gowns—there was only one, in crepe chiffon—he more than made up for with details like jet beading. The result: his strongest collection to date.