A yellow Citroën with a LACOSTE license plate stood at one end of the leaf-strewn catwalk—having, in imagination, just whisked a bevy of bourgeois beauties away to Brittany for a getaway at the coast. To build excitement around the classic basics that are the foundation of the House of the Alligator, creative director Christophe Lemaire has relied heavily on elaborate sets and scenarios, and this time he was romancing the idea of le week-end, as depicted in French cinema à la Yves Montand and Romy Schneider.

Lemaire does not claim to be a revolutionary; his aim, he says, is to make clothes that are evermore ┐precise, refined, and luxurious.┐ To that end, he offered some good youthful options (knit minis and crepe-heeled granny boots) as well as a few grown-up looks that Schneider might have loved (the knit kimono coats and voluminous capes).

There were lots of desirable separates that fairly screamed ┐fall┐—a loden microduffel, belted Annie Hall blazers, a slick rubberized burgundy raincoat. The latter had an undeniable je ne sais quoi, but at times things got a bit syrupy and over-Frenchified. One too many berets made an appearance. And when a trio of models with choreographed smiles marched out toting French novels, cinema magazines, and an artist┐s portfolio, you sensed it was time to pack up the Citroën and start the journey home.