Stuart Vevers has been at Loewe four years already, and if it hasn't exactly been one of fashion's high-profile bells-and-whistles collaborations, today's show was proof of how much a designer can achieve with a quiet commitment to his craft and an empathetic relationship with the 166-year-old Spanish house where he is creative director. Vevers' quest to find new things to do with Loewe's mastery of traditional leather-working techniques came together beautifully in a finale of leather outfits embossed with "phantom" details like belts and pockets. It was an artful trompe l'oeil effect that appropriately left you wanting more at show's end.

Before that, Vevers had found other creative ways to fuse past and present. Claiming inspiration from the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez, he gave drama to items of formal riding attire like cutaway jackets and britches by cutting them from skins, then adding those key embossed or tooled details, particularly the half-belts that held jackets in back. But there was also a more casual story—varsity jackets worn with circle skirts, a utility jacket, a peacoat—which elaborated on another aspect of the interplay between masculine and feminine elements that defined the collection.

With so much of it using glossily black, textured calf's leather, the danger was that a dark, tough chord would drown out Vevers' more refined notes, like the little tucks that drew in a shift dress or the scrolling baroque prints. It was touch-and-go at the start, but ultimately, Vevers struck a balance. And that finale brought it all home.