With fashion currently taking its inspiration from movies like Moulin Rouge and all things flamenco, this is a perfect moment for Christian Lacroix. In his show today, the designer drew upon the Franco-Spanish traditions of his native Arles, but went far beyond them to present one of his strongest collections in recent memory. This was a breathtaking, artfully controlled experiment in maximalism.

The collection included embroidered leather pants with metallic fringes, chiffon and lace tunics, ruffle-edged sleeves, multicolor fox capes and embroidered corsets. A beautiful (and sensible!) tweed overcoat was threaded with red silk and black vinyl, while a hooded parka was done in hot-pink satin and trimmed with fur. Heavily beaded Napoleonic chapeaux, playful Jamaican caps (if Rastafarian tastes ran to sequins, feathers and paillettes) and Spanish mantillas that stood to attention all looked just right.

But the real lessons in craftsmanship were reserved for last: Grand evening statements included a damask patchwork coat reminiscent of traditional Russian dolls, and an enormous raspberry gauze confection that was impossibly pleated, ruffled and gathered. Lacroix's bridal outfit summed up his tour de force show: Who needs white tulle when there's copper and aquamarine lamé, "Holy Virgin" blue satin and pleated pink taffeta?