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Refuting the adage that you can’t go home again, Maryam Nassir Zadeh shot her fall look book at her parents’ house in Los Angeles. This was a visual articulation of a deeper conceptual process the designer has engaged in, one that’s seen her take stock of her business and life by revisiting the places and things she loves and seeing them afresh.

At her spring show, Zadeh cobbled together precious pieces from her vintage textile archive with as little cutting or sewing as possible. It was a risk-taking proposition that related both to the trend for paring things back and to a sort of noninterference method of design. But if she went out on a limb last season, fall found Zadeh on middle ground.

“We got inspired by the idea of building a core collection, which we had never done before,” the designer explained. There were not-so-basic keeper pieces aplenty here, from her signature backward pants to leather bombers, greatcoats to kilts, rendered in materials like pinstripe and corduroy. These are items that the designer still finds relevant after all these years and wants her customers to be able to come back to again and again.

While going through the clothing archive she stores at her childhood home, Zadeh came across her RISD portfolio and pieces from her earliest collections. The garments and textiles she made back then didn’t just look relevant to her today; they reinforced her desire to get even closer to her work. “I really want to create textiles and make clothing that has a richness of texture and life to it,” she said. And boy, does a ribbon-stuffed wiggle dress deliver joie de vivre! Some of the pieces, like a sash dripping with beads, are whimsical one-offs made using vintage materials; others, like an embellished stretch-lace bodysuit, will go into production. It’d look great with a pair of asymmetric laced leggings that have the special off-ness that defines the brand.

In a reflective mood, Zadeh set her own pace this season. Post-lockdown, she mused, we have “a new relationship with the times, and it really has to do with things being fast. I don’t think I have to do what everyone’s doing and be so fast; sometimes doing less is just so much more. That’s where I’m at.” Hence her absence from New York Fashion Week. Going forward Zadeh will present her collections publicly by choice. The nostalgic turn her work has taken is connected to her belief that what you need you can find within yourself. As she put it: “Some things are just part of you, and some things are where you start, and then even if you go far, you still arrive back to where you began.” Zadeh’s collection might be fragranced by déjà vu, but it has the potential to take you places you haven’t yet been to.