Things have come to a pretty pass in Paris when the little gold chairs of couture salons are being transported to grimy inner-city car parks for fashion folk to sit on. Such was the surreal cost-cutting scenario at Christian Lacroix's Fall show, and it might have brought on a loud chorus of moans had the clothes not been good enough to shut up the discomforted, over-shuttled, footsore audience. Delightfully, they were.

Christian Lacroix has got into a great groove with his ready-to-wear. From beginning to end, it was like watching a miniaturized, much more wearable version of one of his couture shows but with all the daintiness and charm left in. His signatures ran from little bubble-backed peacoats with a V silhouette to Edwardian leg-of-mutton-sleeved cardigans, through inimitably draped navy chiffon and seventies pantsuits, all the way through to mini-crini party dresses with bows on the shoulder. The accessories, too, were pure essence of Lacroix: lace or flower-printed tights, gold jeweled belts, tippets of fur or fake flowers to tie on with ribbons, and deliciously fragile whittled-heel patent wedge sandals with pointy toes and velvet trimmings. In the end, Lacroix had made a call even the grumpiest arrival couldn't contest: Save on the peripherals, and sink all the money and effort into design.