Living: Voila! It's Fun a Lacroix

The new king of couture brings back the magic

For a Paris haute couture house, the decor is outright iconoclastic. Instead of the usual hushed beige backdrops, little gilt chairs and artfully placed mirrors, rich oranges and reds glow on every side. The black border motif on the rugs and walls summons up visions of black flames. Bright pink branches thrust upward from behind small neo-Martian chairs, and the sconces are big burnished theater masks, enough to scare a timid millionairess right out of her chiffon.

But last Monday morning the bold decor was tamed by the hum of human activity. Black-clad vendeuses -- all pretty, some titled -- were...

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