Clothes you want to wear. That shouldn't be a novelty at a fashion show, yet somehow it is. We bring it up in the context of Derek Lam because, last season and today, clothes you want have been what he's put on the runway. For Fall he was talking about control; this afternoon, the topic on his mind was letting go of it. Either way, the results were dependably chic: all-American sportswear with refreshed proportions and little idiosyncratic twists.

"We're going into our tenth year, and it's been a tumultuous one," Lam said backstage, referring to how he and his partner, Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann, bought back his company from Labelux last November. "Design-wise, my tendency is to look at clothes in a minute way. The challenge was to allow playfulness." Pulling back like he did lent the clothes an appealing minimalism. Not much in the way of embellishments, save for some raffia fringe trim, but plenty of interesting textures. Textures including the printed jersey of a crisscross-back vest and matching pants that read like tweed bouclé, or the hand-painted guipure lace of dresses over which he layered spongy crepe cropped tops. We've seen lots of denim on the runway this week, but nothing quite as cool as his dark indigo belted dress with the kicky volume in front.

As for those idiosyncratic twists, they were literal this season. Riffing on the idea of wrapping a towel on the body, he made a strapless yellow crepe georgette gown with a tucking detail below the bust that really did look about as easy as stepping out of the shower and reaching for the terrycloth. Gorgeous.