While it’s great to see new talent finding its wobbly way down the catwalk, sometimes it’s nice to relax in the hands of a professional—especially when he’s at the top of his form. Ralph Lauren’s fall collection, shown on the last day of Fashion Week, was smooth as charmeuse from start to finish: simple, perfectly cut clothes in excellent fabrics, worn by flawless models, to a mellow soundtrack courtesy of Fleetwood Mac.

Lauren opened with some body-hugging camel-hair pieces—a bateau-neck sweater, a high-waisted slim skirt—that were as cozy as they were sexy. Then he took firm possession of the tweedy trend running through fall, slamming out one great nubby piece after another: a chocolaty mélange, a bold black-and-white check, a frothy black bouclé occasionally dusted with sequins, that he made into trim little blazers, pencil skirts, classic trousers, and pretty ballerina skirts. His outerwear, particularly a generous trench cut from the sparkly black bouclé, was another home run, and Lauren even put a new twist (literally) on the now ubiquitous shrug by making it from a generous loop of cashmere. For drama, he added some blood-red velvet pieces and a lovely, spare black dress with a collarbone-framing scoop neck and graceful swirling skirt. And while the rest of the world is raiding grandma’s jewelry box for her big gold brooches, Lauren’s customer is going her own way, sporting big chunky antique Navajo belts, necklaces, and earrings that keep her suits from getting too fussy.

For evening, Lauren simply took the great sportswear motif and cut it with a little more va-va-voom. (Who knew a tuxedo jacket could have deep décolletage?) His closing gown, an inky stunner paved from head to toe with winking bugle beads, put a gleaming exclamation point on a very strong statement.