Lacoste gave invitees to its Fall show a book celebrating the brand's history, and there, in the photos of René Lacoste and friends at play in the thirties, was the inspiration for the opening passage. There was a striking new sophistication in the oatmeal- and stone-toned pieces: oversize outerwear wrapping some sharp jerseys and flannels for the boys and slouchy, sexy knits for the girls. Slouchiest of all was an alpaca hand-knit worn over rah-rah shorts.

The chic neutral mood soon surrendered, though, to an orgy of primary color-blocking—and a different decade of inspiration. The Lacoste croc sparkling gold on the backdrop was a cue. So were the ponytails pulled to the side. If not quite disco, there was at least a strong eighties feel to a fuzzy sweater dress sliding off one shoulder, or a jumpsuit in red jersey, or the ribbed leggings worn with almost everything. They bunched over boots in a way that would have called to Jennifer Beals. And there were distinct echoes of other style statements from fashion's favorite decade: The sweatshirt dresses said Benetton; the green jacket with the black skirt, the yellow tights, and the pink gloves could have jumped straight out of a Bill King spread for Enrico Coveri; the striped jersey dress summoned up the spirit of Sonia Rykiel. What tied together all these images that Christophe Lemaire happily ransacked for the collection? A wholesale optimism and sporty joie de vivre—and there's no copyright on that.