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New York Fashion Week: Derek Lam

September 12, 2011 | 11:42 am

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Derek Lam was in a Palm Springs state of mind when he designed his knockout spring collection, inspired by the clean lines of Midcentury Modern architecture, the raw expanse of desert and the refuge of a clear blue pool.

The result was an upbeat sportswear collection that was one of his best ever, with shades of Slim Aarons and chic 1960s suburbia.

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Not that the clothes were a throwback; in fact, they were the picture of confident, timeless dressing-- a white denim trench with graphic black patent details, a smooth, caramel leather T-shirt, a tailored hemp blazer, and short sleeve lattice-weave sweaters perfect for layering.

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The python diamond patchwork pencil skirts were like a grown-up version of your favorite vintage '70s rocker jacket, and navy blue silk shantung pants with white cuffs a more elegant alternative to blue jeans.

For evening, a black organza beaded tile dress twinkled like the night sky, and a coral silk jumpsuit was hostess chic. I also loved the head-to-toe kaleidoscope print looks, as goofy and loud as the seat covers on the pool furniture. A tile motif turned up, too--on a pale blue embroidered skirt, and brown-and-white wedge sandals.

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When asked backstage if he had spent any time in Palm Springs lately, Lam, who is originally from San Francisco, said "No. But I want to retire there!"

--Booth Moore, reporting from New York

RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: Victoria Beckham

New York Fashion Week: Altuzarra

New York Fashion Week: Band of Outsiders

Photos: Looks from the Derek Lam spring 2012 collections shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Dan Balilty / AP Photo; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

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