Christian Lacroix, genius colorist and lover of all things patterned, is the designer in charge of raiding the Pucci archives in order to make the company’s style relevant today. For Spring 2004, Lacroix took purple, absinthe, lime, orange, and turquoise prints and shook them up in his fashion kaleidoscope to make little chiffon or satin dresses with asymmetric trails, funny combat-cum-harem trousers, Zouave pants, and scarf-like half-pant, half-skirt notions for tying on over swimsuits.

More than any other, Pucci is a label that comes into its own in high summer, and some of Lacroix’s swimwear was stellar—one stunning, yachtworthy number plunged from the shoulders to be gathered at the navel in a sunburst of color. There were plenty of delightful midsummer-night party dresses, and the multicolored Pucci dolly bags in soft silk were irresistible. But the collection didn’t quite hit all the high-glam spots it could have—especially in a nostalgically inclined season like this one that’s crazy for romantic prints. Lacroix could have happily edited out all the black, and a closer look at Pucci’s fifties and sixties heritage might have yielded yet more gems that were ready for a twenty-first–century revival.