Christian Lacroix: A Retrospect

Legendary French designer Christian Lacroix is known to be one of the fathers of Haute Couture who started his fashion regime in the late eighties. With a background in Historical Art studies, he would introduce one of the world’s most extravagant artistic collections known in the fashion Industry. His wide-eyed Couture collections not only astounded people with Mediterranean color patterns and the incorporation of overlapped century themes, but every lace, embroidery , and layer of experimental fabric narrated a tale. Lacroix’s influence in the fashion industry was at first misunderstood and believed that he didn’t “meet the needs of the working woman” but managed to engrave his signature on the runways of Paris and invented “Le Pouf” skirt, also known as the “puffball skirt”.

Thematic Haute Couture collections of Lacroix made him famous for his innovativeness and artistic eye that he translated each season into fashion. Carnival masks, over-sized hats, layers of bright sheers, gala costumes, and dresses that flowed with rivers of embellishments and handmade embroidery brought surrealness to its patrons. With big investments and little profit, these legendary Haute couture burlesque collections that manage to be put together every season for more than 10 years, tragically took its toll.

Although our economy is slowly but surely on its way to recuperation, still there are companies, investments and industries being affected. Unfortunately, when in a recession, the first thing that takes a toll is the arts. The luxury of having a couture house is now becoming something that needs to be sacrificed. At the end of the day, if the numbers don’t pull through then the cloud of debt will begin to get heavier until it rains. Lacroix, with the addition of funds and more Ready-to-Wear collections with slightly more realism, can save the name.

Until then, what many refer to as “the last collection” was showcased in Paris during fashion week for his Fall 2009/10 Haut Couture collection, which strongly reflected a mood of nostalgia and farewell. It’s been reported that his label had been struggling with financial dilemmas during that time with a deficit in 10 million Euros. Lacroix personally funded the show with models and others who showed their loyalty by volunteering their efforts and contribution to put his collection together.

Black, navy, gold, solemn blues and indigos gracefully and enduringly walked the runway with pride and sophistication. Bows now took the place of embellishments that used to be adorned on its coats and dresses without losing his signature.

Then, alas, his signature bride blissfully concluded his collection with a Renaissance inspired creation whom he escorted for an emotional bow.

Christian Lacroix Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1990.

Christian Lacroix, The New York Times Magazine/Fashions of the Times.1989.

Haute Couture F/W 2008.

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