With each new season chez Emilio Pucci, Christian Lacroix has simplified and streamlined the collection, while his own-name couture presentations hit ever greater heights of giddy exuberance. In this, his last collection for the house, Lacroix dressed his models, with their clean, scrubbed makeup and their ponytails simply tied with bandanas, to reflect the spirit of easy summer resort elegance that Pucci has exemplified since the fifties. "Pretty is the right word for it," said Laudomia Pucci backstage of Lacroix's thistledown work for the label that bears her father's name.

Lacroix opened the show with a simple shift dress in white cotton drill that tapped into the season's feel for 1960's minimalist rigor with a couture flavor. However, closer inspection revealed that the dress was lavishly embroidered in tone-on-tone faceted china beads, in one of the swirling Op Art formations that are a house signature. That little dress reappeared in vibrant prints in the evocative color mix of purple, teal, azure, and white—Pucci's Vivara palette—that dominated the show.

To reinforce the breezy mood of the collection, Lacroix added matelot-stripe sleeves or backs to Pucci-print knits—perfect for a yachting adventure in Capri or Portofino—and cut-out swimsuit tops to sleek evening dresses. Bucket "beach bags" in white or gold textured leather and gladiator sandals (either flat or kitten-heel) were embroidered in sparkling nail heads and beads for day-into-evening glamour. Similarly fanciful beach-to-gala conceits included a beaded eau de nil chiffon cover-up, a diaphanous, strapless evening dress slashed to reveal a matching bikini bottom, and a sweeping caftan that Elizabeth Taylor might have worn in the campy sixties classic Boom.

Lacroix's deft couture hand revealed itself in the sunray-pleated gowns spliced in the colors of the season, and a brace of goddess-pleated dresses fashioned for red carpets from Hollywood to Cannes.