Christian Lacroix followed up his January haute couture spectacular with a ready-to-wear show that, while more rigorously edited and subdued than usual, served up some exceptionally chic and romantic clothes.

Lacroix opened with cocktail suits scissored from brocades and shot taffetas, often lavished with unusually colored furs (strawberry fox, greige mink) and cut with a Parisian flourish. His magpie eye drew on a multitude of references, including twenties haute couture flappers (for a black beaded frock or coat splashed with giant white sequin daisies); the work of cult seventies designer Jean Muir (for a slim coat in grass-green perforated suede); a felt Victorian cape (for the collar detail on a sleek black velvet coat); and a Japanese kimono print (for a lightly pleated skirt tied with an obi sash).

As he has for the past two seasons, Lacroix showed some of his men's looks among this fine-feathered flock. Red velvet jeans and a navy pea coat worn with trainers in shades of mossy velvet; coral charms on a chain slung across dirty pastel fatigue pants; and a nineteenth-century-flavored military greatcoat set off with a beaded cap all successfully suggested Lacroix's own quirky sartorial image.

For his ladies, jewel-clasped velvet ribbons in clashing colors (used to anchor the bodice on an evening dress or as a flourish on a lapel) and cloudy puffs of tulle over contrasting under-dresses were both delightful ideas taken from his couture show. And Lacroix's stellar finale of evening dresses—in eye-popping Pepto-Bismol chiffon finished with a black velvet bow, for instance, or mauve crushed velvet trimmed with the lavish Edwardian passementerie that is everywhere this season—exuded off-beat charm and proved the master couturier's touch.