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California born Derek Lam, whose first formal runway presentation was back in 2003, honed his skills while working for both Michael Kors and Geoffrey Beene (not too shabby). A previous nominee for the Council of Fashion Designers of American Perry Ellis-Swarovski Award for New Talent, he has become known for elegant, ladylike clothes that pay homage to the past, but are not stuck in a time warp, and forge forward into the 21st century through his young, modern, and eclectic mixes.

For fall, he dubbed his collection " California Dreamin- on a cold winter's day", and it played out against various remixes of the famous soundtrack. Derek really proved his ability, in what many considered to be his best effort yet. The most notable result was in the still elegant clothes which retailed a ladylike air, but were not stodgy or uptight, tempered as they were with a somewhat boho, easy, relaxed, wearable, laid back California vibe, (with more than a hint of the 60's). While not everything worked (and when does it?), there was a lot to like, and many pieces that chic, smart, well-dressed women would love to own and wear.

He successfully mixed tailored belted trenchcoats or in one case- an ivory shrunken, fitted military style jacket- over soft silk prairie style skirts; layered a gold sequined tank under a cropped tan trench jacket and put it with well tailored mannish trousers; showed stiff dark rolled up jeans with a gorgeous shirt replete with dressmaker details and threw an elegant black fitted coat over it; showed a group of drop waist silk shirtdresses with easy rounded skirts as well as some pretty evening dresses- a shimmery, graceful midcalf ivory in particular, with criss cross back and lingerie detailing, was edged in black lace. Everything (well, almost everything) was grounded with a heavy flat, black strappy sandal (which does not mean YOU have to wear it that way, but it did add to the somewhat laid back mood), scarves of varying widths and lengths nonchalantly wrapped around the neck, and singular necklaces added that individual, artistic touch.

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