02/10/2013 04:38 EST | Updated 04/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Camel is big, capes are in and black goes with navy on Derek Lam's runway

NEW YORK, N.Y. - To many of us, a navy-and-black outfit might seem a bit of an accident, something resulting from dressing too hastily on a dark morning.

Not for designer Derek Lam. He loves the navy-black mix. "It's one of my favourite combinations," he said backstage after his fall-winter preview on Sunday. "There's something very unpretentious about navy, and black is very crisp and stark. The navy breaks up the black. And black gives the navy an urban feel."

And so Lam paired a navy-and-white satin top with a black wool trouser. A navy-and-grey wool jersey T-shirt came with a navy-and-black jacquard trouser, plus black shoes and bag. A felt coat came in navy, black and white wool, covering an ivory lace dress.

Another big colour on Lam's runway this season: luxurious camel. A classic, loose coat in camel cashmere opened the show, and a roomy cashmere duffel coat looked glamorous with sunglasses of the same colour. Camel was also used for a wool cashmere pullover, a wool-and-cashmere dress and, prettiest of all, a big boucle cape.

Capes in general were a popular item. "Women have so much already in their wardrobe," he said backstage. "I thought, what can I give them that's special?" One particularly nice look was an elbow-length black leather cape that tied in front.

By far the most flamboyant item: a red, knee-length fox fur vest, paired with wine-colored flat boots. A shorter, navy fox vest was more understated and in line with the rest of the collection. It was paired with a navy crochet dress and brown ankle boots.

A black-crochet "poncho dress" was pretty and alluring, but one did wonder exactly how one would liberate one's arms for daily tasks — including hailing a cab on a blustery New York street corner.