In a funny sort of way, the way the Derek Lam show kicked off this morning ended up echoing the collection itself. The deflated mood - was it tiredness, the biting cold, a deliberate lowering of expectations in a lacklustre fashion week midpoint - hang over the bare white space. Or was everyone trying to decipher the meaning of the six mirrored wooden units artfully scattered around? Whatever the spell was, it was brilliantly broken when the photographers started chanting Suzy Menkes' name as she was rushed to her seat, making everyone do something very unfashiony: laugh. And then the show started.
Out walks Aymeline Valade in a grey doubleface wool pullover over a shiny black leather pencil skirt with floral embroidery, that from afar resembled print, and ankle-strapped boots. And that rather nostalgic-looking embroidered print introduced the collection, appearing on a white zip-up jacket and pencil skirt and a black t-shirt version on Arizona Muse. Suddenly, the mood had shifted. Was everyone really expecting another mediocre show? If Derek Lam is not exactly the most ground-breaking name on the New York schedule he definitely deserves recognition for delivering a fantastic, coherent idea of what a woman drowning in a sea of print should wear next season. How about an embroidered tee with an eel skin skirt that stops at knee and some ankle boots? It felt right.
Leather was king. A maroon leather capsleeve dress came with a lasercut leather turtleneck - yes, a leather turtleneck - and there were shiny black leather skirts, pullovers and front-pleated trousers cut loose above the ankle. And yet, what I thought was some clever fabric manipulation at play, a black and white lace effect on leather turned out to be good ol' paisley jacquard! Silly me. That's the thing with fashion, when you start thinking you know what's to come something shakes you out of it - like a good-humoured name chant in a quiet cold white space or Arizona in a simple long-sleeved ivory silk pintucked dress. 'I really liked that!' said my seat neighbour Susie Lau, sounding pleasantly surprised. So did I.