In a serene and beautifully judged collection done almost entirely in shades of cream, Tomas Maier put the individualistic way we use clothes at the center of his thought process. "I think of it as a collaboration with women," he said. "The clothes are meant to be a backdrop, a blank canvas, so the wearer can play with color and accessories to change the look and make it her own." The concept of the neutral background came when he saw a group of children being dropped off at a karate class in Florida, where he lives: "I liked the look of the canvas, and that became my color card—white, cream, straw. And the idea of the soft belt."

The relaxed sportiness surfaced in the second look: the karate jacket, made into a halter and wrapped over shorts, followed by a drapey fine-gauge knit jogging suit and all-in-one. Yet his takes on simple sheaths, strapless dresses, a cotton fifties-flavored sundress, the corset, and an impactful evening dress were all securely melded into the sequence. At the core of the show was an impressive array of daywear that, as Maier promised, became the foil for outstandingly desirable accessories and the occasional splash of turquoise, green, and magenta.

Lightweight jackets and rolled-hem shorts, elegant T-shirt-cum-sack dresses, and tunics with asymmetrical raised seaming were shown with a sophisticated Bottega take on country-peasant craftsmanship: high wedge sandals with woven espadrille soles, delicate string macramé slingbacks, and an amazing translation of the house leather intrecciato bag into something resembling a soft straw basket. It was one of the best summations so far this season of the feeling for sport, pale color, and the textured aesthetics of humble materials—but with a surprise contrarian kicker. At the end, three extraordinary evening dresses in boldly colored iridescent polyester tissue walked out. Nothing to do with the rest of it, except that in Maier's hands, even the synthetic can become the epitome of sophistication.