January 20, 2003 Paris
The difference now is that his signature sculpting (tiny 18th-century peplum jackets) and collaging (myriad colors, laces, satin, organza, slubby silks, chiffon) have lost their former costumey stiffness. There's a softer modernity in this collection, in such pieces as a sprigged coat that came with a raw edge and a single sleeve, like an offhandedly reclaimed antique, or a sensational pink coat that opened to reveal a shimmy of a spangled tunic as easy as a T-shirt.
Some of the silhouetteslike his prettiest belled short skirtswere reminiscent of that '80s starting point. But Lacroix has moved on, and now his clothes relate to a younger, easier way of dressing. At the end of the show, the audience gave the designer an ovation to recognize a talent once more at the height of its powers.