Oscar de la Renta's collection for Balmain was an essay in simplicity. With a restricted color palette and a minimum of embellishment, De la Renta rendered a vision of a couture house—and of a woman—that was crystal clear.

A navy blue and white daywear section featured a neat double-face wool jacket over an arctic-white lace blouse and wide gabardine trousers. A white bouclé tweed coat was trimmed with navy at the four-button cuff, while an ivory tweed tailored suit featured a skirt that flipped ever so slightly at the knee. As daywear gave way to evening, kimonos, ponchos and caftans became the focus. One short kimono jacket in woven bone silk featured a belt of tressed pearls; another came closed with a grosgrain ribbon and diamanté brooch. Sky-blue silk ponchos, meanwhile, seemed perfect for poolside in Malibu. Caftans were cut close to the body in white over a silk pantsuit, in navy blue embellished with gold and belted with shiny bugle beads, or in deep turquoise finished with pavés of multitoned velour.

Ball gowns were, as always, exceptional, from an asymmetric layered organza gown that floated around the body to a simple sleeveless black organza shirtdress, embroidered with lace flowers, that billowed out to extravagant proportions. Extravagant, but not over the top—as de la Renta has reminded us, sometimes couture is about knowing when enough is enough.