Derek Lam had a bit of good news heading into his New York fashion week preparations. A private equity firm with ties to his longtime mentor Domenico De Sole just bought a minority stake in his 10-year-old business. It could set Lam up nicely for significant growth. Of course, extra cash to play around with doesn't mean much if you don't have the clothes to back it up. But that he most definitely does this season. A decade in, Lam knows his strengths. A fabulous coat, gratifyingly well-cut pants, an out-of-the-ordinary boot. They're not the kinds of things that fashion revolutions are made of, but they do tend to make women's hearts go pitter-patter. Ask those private equity guys what really matters.

Backstage Lam was talking about Buddhism, Tibetan prayer flags, and Central Asian nomads. He said he was interested in the idea of clashing yet harmonious energies. But it's best not to read too much into that. The overall impression was rich (see the patchwork leather skirt) but clean (as in the elongated black blazer he paired it with). Coats have already become a meme this week. Lam's contributions were whipped up in a wool bouclé shot through with Lurex. He can usually be depended on for a big fox fur, but the mood here was too quiet for that. A haircalf jacket in a striking shade of curry was a more than worthy stand-in. There was news in his knits, too. Hard to choose between the multi-ply ribbed cashmere of an asymmetrically draped sweater dress and the Mondrian-esque intarsias of his fine jersey tunics. "Prayer flag" evening dresses with split seams held together by gold beads were harmonious indeed.