Clearly refreshed by the 3-year hiatus that ended with her spring 2004 collection, Jil Sander delivered a fall show that cut through the mixed-up flavors of current fashion like a palate-cleansing sorbet. Her new contribution is a gentler, less conceptual approach that embraces the desire for prettiness as well as coolly cut streetwear.

Sander offered a confident, contemporary parallel to mainstream fashion's current ladylike agenda, showing amazingly cut pea jackets, lean pants, tweed princess coats, and A-line skirts. The effect was simple and sophisticated, thanks as always to the judicious manipulation of quietly luxurious fabric. Sander's customers have always trusted her to dispel the nightmare complications of getting dressed for a busy day and now they have an equally happy one-step solution for great eveningwear: Put on her strapless, understated cream dress and—sans jewellery, furs, accessories, or fuss—you will turn heads like a modern-day Audrey Hepburn in a room full of gussied-up matrons.

Sander's comeback is proving the true value of personal, meticulously evolved design skills to the integrity of a brand. There is a clear difference between what we see now (the infinite care taken to mold the seaming and frame the stand of a collar in a herringbone tweed coat, for instance) and the generalized merchandising drive that prevailed in her absence. There's nothing intellectual about it, either: Countless women will relate to the easy simplicity of pairing a sweater with a black fan-pleated skirt, with a flash of silver in the front, or running off to work in a neat white half-belted trench. Sander's loyal customers are already back in droves: With this collection they're likely to be joined by a younger generation, shopping shoulder to shoulder.