"Who wants to come out in brights [for pre-fall]?" Carolina Herrera asked at an informal presentation in her showroom today. "I saw it had to be subtle." Simple, simple, simple, she repeated as she walked editors through racks of dresses, pants, knits, and blouses in French gray and pewter blue, with just a shot or two of poppy red and gold.

But simple doesn't mean dull, and this collection found Herrera in top form. Accordion-pleated sheaths in duchesse satin, silk organza, and wool jacquard were quintessentially CH: refined, restrained, and effortlessly lovely. A shooting-star motif (inspired by Herrera's own Luz Camino pin) and animal prints recurred throughout, though even leopard was softened and abstracted in the designer's hands. A box-knit jacket with removable fox collar, shown with matching gray wool trousers, was day done right—not that you would mind wearing it once the sun set. Herrera mentioned that she'd done more daywear for this collection than ever before. "How many ball gowns can you have?" she wondered aloud. That's not a question we ever expected to hear from this designer, and never fear, she threw in a few beauties: a watercolor print inspired by a pheasant's feathers, and, to close, a showstopping chantecaille lace gown in black and gold, a sleeker, slimmed-down version of the pearl gray and blush one from Resort.