No one would really have expected Oscar de la Renta to adopt the sober palette that's dominated the runways this week. But just in case there was any doubt, the designer announced his direction even before the first model appeared, projecting a mosaic of colorful photos taken at Moroccan open-air markets—fruits, flowers, spices—onto the stage front.

There was a whiff of far-flung exoticism throughout the collection, although it was grounded in city-smart sportswear. De la Renta started with nubby cashmere sweaters, limpid ruched tops and soft wool poet-sleeve blouses, paired with tailored flannel pants and skirts in gray, moss green, taupe and black. But almost every outfit got a touch of spice via embroidery, a dusting of sequins, even a cowrie-shell fringe, along with exotic belts trimmed in coins, studs or smooth horn buttons.

Beautiful, delicately decorated coats have become fixtures in de la Renta's collections, and this one was no exception: There were opulent styles, like the silk patchwork version lined with sheared mink, alongside low-key versions in black cashmere or silk twill with a light touch of embroidery or beading.

De la Renta ended, as always, with a parade of great eveningwear: simple lace dresses, densely ruffled skirts and a group of glorious, diaphanous blouses with generous poet sleeves—just the thing for midnight at the medina.