Should a woman be taken by a fancy for a decorative summer coat, Christian Lacroix could be a label to check out. A hint of his extraordinary couture hand was there in today's belted, geometric jacquard coats, with sleeves that puffed in the elbow region, and in his ivory-and-black Chantilly lace buttonless cardigan. The same might be said of a little gray jacket and wide pants; a jet-beaded, Spanish-flavored red bustle-back Empire dress; or the breakout of earthy browns and a white pseudo-African print on a short T-shirt dress.

As for the rest, the argument for turning to this collection over others wasn¿t particularly clear. Lacroix had plenty of short organza bubbles and silver-sequin cocktail dresses, but so did lots of designers, and his, though unobjectionable enough, lacked the oomph of personality that gives the competitive edge these days. Other points in this presentation were less fathomable, though perhaps attributable to the designer¿s recent sojourns in Las Vegas, where he¿s opened a boutique. A section of bubble-gum pink printed Western shirts and spangled cutaway bodysuits possibly referred less to Lacroix¿s Arlesian-in-Paris signatures than to Americana and Vegas showgirls. Or possibly not; who could really tell? Either way, they added an off-note, and the sense that this collection hadn¿t been invested with any particular personal passion.