Sophie Theallet is one of the six designers up for this year's International Woolmark Prize, which is kind of a super big deal. Given that the prize is sponsored by the good folks in Australia who produce merino wool, it was only to be expected that the material would feature extensively in Theallet's new collection. You might have even thought that the designer would ring a whole bunch of woolen bells and whistles, and use the stuff in flashy ways. But that's not Theallet's style. If anything, she erred on the side of understatement this season, playing to her strengths and acting on what she described, before her show today, as an unwavering dedication to making clothes that are easy, practical, and sophisticated.

The matter-of-factness of Theallet's clothes can desensitize you to their grace. But then some subtle element today would sneak up on you, and take your breath away. To wit, her black tank dress, paneled in charcoal wool on either side of its nipped waist, and trimmed in selvedge; that dress was quiet, but terrifically chic. Theallet also has a painterly way with color, and here used small flashes of it to infuse her looks with drama. There was the knit turquoise dress with a band of red at the collar, for instance, which Theallet showed with a trim gray and white ski sweater; also, the look that paired a knee-length gray skirt veined by red selvedge with an amber hand-knit sweater topped by what looked like a brushstroke of turquoise. Again, quiet, again, chic. The noisiest numbers here featured Theallet's print of, as she termed it, "winter flowers"; she used it most effectively in two billowing gowns, which seemed quite modest until you got a look at them from the back. Perhaps the standout look in the show, however, was a cocktail dress of red and rust—the skirt featured an overlay of rust-colored, semi-transparent micro-pleats, which revealed the red silk below in different ways as the dress moved. The cut was conventional but done with exceptional refinement. You could imagine that dress on almost anyone—it was ageless and timeless. And that's the winning flip side to Theallet's lack of flash: All the clothes here seemed destined to endure.