Amazing anatomy: that's what one needs to acquire before even thinking about Balenciaga for spring. Nicholas Ghesquière's hourglass suits are all rump-hugging to-the-knee skirt, cinched torso, and assertive shoulder, with raised seams running over every contour. High-collared, multi-buttoned cadet jackets, in glove-smooth putty leather or pristine cream canvas, come nipped at the waist, or with the shoulders shaped on the curve and doubly emphasized by tiny boleros. "I wanted to contrast structure and fluidity," he said. "Things that give power to femininity."

This sculptured, futuristic/militaristic silhouette marches to a beat not heard since Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana stalked the eighties Paris runways. But there was more: Ghesquière followed his couture—like, neutral tailoring with short, flounced cutaway dresses in vivid colors and flower prints, delicately suspended over neoprene bras. A highly feminine conflation of his previous experiments with patchwork, some of these pieces were collages of powder-pink corsetry and fluted fuchsia chiffon, floating over, say, a lime-green bra. Others, in old-fashioned flower prints, ended in curly ruffles, weighted with zippers in the hems.

Whittled down to twenty-six outfits, this was a small but perfectly formed design statement. None of Balenciaga’s beloved pants and T-shirts made the edit, but hopes are high they’re somewhere in the back.