Ralph Lauren's spring show was inspired by the polished, formal wardrobes of thirties society in Hollywood and Manhattan. Aiming to update that golden moment, Lauren produced an impeccable array of sportswear that was also a healthy reminder—in a season so focused on single items—of what a complete collection should be about.

From slouchy silk cardigans over fragile lingerie dresses, to narrow, nip-waisted jackets over slim, calf-grazing skirts, to tan shantung suits with cropped trousers, Lauren sent out entire outfits that could sail straight into the closet of a latter-day Daisy Buchanan. Sound too retro? No, thanks to a handful of deft, modern touches like gleaming, silvery fabrics; metallic belts; high-heel spectator pumps; and even a Polo pony logo, redone in crystal on a pair of full-cut white denim jeans.

For evening, Lauren rose to the occasion with a series of figure-caressing, bias-cut hammered-satin gowns. The forebears of these pieces were worn in rooms filled with witty banter and popping Champagne corks; their seductive descendents are destined for red carpets and popping flashbulbs.