The ineffable Frenchness of Lacoste under the design directorship of Christophe Lemaire was instantly established by the Citroën rammed through the wall at the end of the catwalk. Its headlights illuminated an autumn woodland setting, through which aquiline Parisian weekenders paraded a selection of haute bourgeois leisurewear—at least, that was the effect Lemaire was aiming for. Juicing up an institution as august as Lacoste might seem a little like attempting a three-point turn with the Queen Mary, but a recent GQ interview had the designer expressing his conviction that freshness and positivity could be enough to add a hint of subversion. By those standards, the first outfit—a navy-and-white striped top, navy blazer, and white jeans rolled over boots—was positively revolutionary.

Lemaire claimed inspiration from French movies of the mid-seventies, though the self-absorbed centerpieces of those Gallic gabfests would probably have been taken aback by the zap of the designer's color palette: orange and turquoise aren't trad BCBG tones. On the other hand, shearling-lined leather blousons, corduroy blazers, and the leather-buttoned cardigan (with a chunky faux-sheepskin shawl collar) were entirely appropriate garb for the kind of man who might tuck a copy of Cahiers du Cinéma under his arm before venturing out to a brasserie. A plain old Lacoste polo shirt seemed long ago and far away.