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Derek Lam

Inspirations don’t come much unlikelier than Derek Lam’s this season. Ready? It was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. “I like his long arms and legs. No one moves more elegantly than basketball players on the court.” (For the record, Lam isn’t following the NBA Finals; the Knicks are his team, poor guy.) You had to look closely to pick out the references. His basketball jersey, for one thing, comes in double-face cashmere. Lam said he wanted to take “the stuffing” out of his clothes and find a “more relaxed, contemporary attitude,” but that has just as much to do with the way he sees his friends dressing—and, perhaps, comments that his Fall show was overly retro—as it does Abdul-Jabbar’s rangy physical presence.

In any case, the collection found him up to the task. There was an appealing ease even to his evening looks, the most graceful of which was a two-piece gown that consisted of a tunic with a teardrop cutout at the neck and a floor-length pleated skirt, shown with cork-soled flat sandals. As for daywear, he cut a jacket with the bias drape of a blouse and generally softened up his tailoring, and put a big emphasis on knit dressing, as other designers have been doing for Resort. Fox chubbies and accessories added a decadent note to the collection overall, but they didn’t compromise his relaxed message.

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