It's the vivid and unique color sense of Christian Lacroix that knocks you sideways. Even the tights in his couture collection beam out news about the shades of the coming season: turquoise, purple, and brilliant scarlet. See them set against khaki, bronze, teal, midnight, dusty pink, pale gold, hot orange, and ice-blue, and it's a sensory feast before you even take into account the layered delicacy and intricate details of the clothes.

Suffice to say that this collection captured the trends and pushed them into a personal realm that could only exist in the mind of Lacroix. He showed short-and-leggy shifts with a waistless, floating volume. He did egg-shaped coats, strapless bell-skirted damask dresses, leg-o'-mutton sleeves, and extravagant astrakhan capes. Renaissance balloon sleeves cropped up alongside infanta dresses and draped chiffon gowns. There was gilding and lamé; ribbons and jet; clouds of tulle; and billows of taffeta. By some miracle, none of these elements ended up fighting one another. After 20 years, Christian Lacroix is, without doubt, at the height of his powers.