Derek Lam made his Fashion Week debut in 2003, sending out a collection that would mark a new era in crisp, clean, American sportswear. He redefined the classics, crafting a cool line of looks that felt utterly modern thanks to smart tailoring and attention to detail. What remains in each reincarnation is an unmistakably chic aesthetic — effortless, easy, and wearable. He loves color as much as he loves black; he experiments as much with the classics as he does with edgier designs and prints but continues to deliver a clever mix of the slick and the feminine. Click through for a look back at the San Francisco-born designer's runways and see exactly what we mean.
Construction was of the essence, with carefully rounded shoulders and intricately pieced suede and leather skirts.
A completely neutral look is anything but minimal with layers of intricate details.
The designer broadened his normally neutral palette this season to include pale pink, cornflower blue, hunter green, and ocher.
There were other texture moments, too, by way of a heavily sequined skirt and fringed accents on necklines and sleeves.
Layering was big, with boxy crop tops worn over dresses. And texture had its moment to shine, such as this roughly woven dress you want to reach out and touch.
Gingham was't the only thing retro about Spring 2014 — the turbans that walked the runway added to the plucked-from-the-past vibe.
Gorgeous suede felt luxurious in dresses ready for crisp weather.
A minimalist gown showed off a folded neckline that was pretty, but not distracting.
For Fall, colorblocking took a geometric spin, with triangular pieces featuring prominently.
Lam showed a classic trench with an oversized twist.
The Spring'13 featured this textured burgundy laser-cut paillette dress.
A bright pencil skirt paired with a perfectly slouched pullover.
For this dress, he featured both gorgeous brocade and the trend of the moment — a fashion-forward collar.
Derek created classic ladylike pieces with a twist for Fall '12.
The designer offered up megawatt brights for his Spring '12 collection.
Leather pieces gave Derek's Spring '12 looks a little edge.
A ladylike meets minimalist look.
Fur adornments gave Derek's Fall collection a downtown feel.
A sharp menswear-style coat.
She also embraced maxi lengths and sheer fabrics.
Derek's girl took classic denim and made it way chic.
He also experimented with leather — way cool.
In Fall 2010, Derek revisited his love of funky hats.
And shouted her love of prints from the rooftops.
She showed lots of leg . . .
The Derek Lam girl got way sassy in Spring '10.
And more fur!
He also looked to the classics.
Derek played with beautiful draping this season.
With streamlined silhouettes.
And pops of color.
Spring 2009 was a rebirth of cool-girl classics.
And loads of texture and moody hues.
Fall of '08 saw major drama!
And a unique, sexy dress to make jaws drop!
A plaid skirt to spice all the neutral tones up.
Fall '07 was nothing short of amazing. This shearling vest dress is ridiculously cool.
As well as crochet.
Spring '07 saw a more ethnic approach.
Check out those cool fur-sleeves on the trench coat — fabulous!
This season injected some cool jewel tones.
He was also feeling scarves as head pieces!
In Spring of '06, Derek was into crisp white pieces.
How cool is that striped, cozy poncho?
For Fall '05, Derek put his models in longer hemlines and cool hats.
And retro swimwear!
By Spring '05, he was into nudes . . .
He was also into chic fur collars and cropped trousers.
Back in 2004, Derek was feeling the bright combination of red and orange.