The fact that a grateful gasp of pleasure can pass through a room at the sight of an amazingly cut peacoat, the collar chicly turned up, over a pair of gray flannel pants says something significant about the state of fashion right now. It came at number 15 in the Bottega Veneta lineup—the defining moment at which it became clear that Tomas Maier's collection was making sense of the hunger for a new kind of simplicity in a quite brilliant way. He did it with tailoring and he did it with a stunning variety of draped and pieced dresses, making one of the season's most convincing arguments yet for a longer line.

"I wanted something effortless" is the way Maier described his liquid, wrapped jerseys and gauzy wool dresses. "I let the material dictate an elongated line, something that would look as if fabric was just running down the body." Effortless and pulled together it was: dresses, tights, and shoes each shaded in one-color silhouettes taken from the dusk-to-dawn tints of a night sky. One outstanding nude-toned dress could be pulled over the head and simply tied at the hip. Others were constructed from patchworks of compact gray jersey to form cap sleeves and trace the torso. To go with all this, there were gorgeous accessories that underlined the sense of elegant restraint: matte crocodile bags with a fold-over frame top; a new dense, dark suede on the flanks of a handheld tote; perfectly balanced pumps with a sliver of a platform. Totally thought through, beautiful, and wearable, this collection ranks Maier as a designer working at an extraordinary level of technical accomplishment, and sensitivity to the kind of women who wear his clothes.