Christian Lacroix

France France
Perhaps it was simply not enough for him that he had rehabilitated a legendary fashion brand and thus saved it from oblivion. Maybe he wanted to start a new fashion brand of his... Read more
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Perhaps it was simply not enough for him that he had rehabilitated a legendary fashion brand and thus saved it from oblivion. Maybe he wanted to start a new fashion brand of his own with just such success. Or maybe he just wanted to give an outstanding creative talent the chance to adequately present his ideas.

But whatever it was, Bernard Arnault, the illustrious savior of the 'Dior' brand and Chairman of the Board of LVMH, certainly succeeded: just as financier Marcel Boussac succeeded with Christian Dior in 1947, Arnault's help exactly 40 years later established Christian Lacroix as the brightest new star in the French haute couture sky with just one collection, and his creations were to set the trend in the international fashion world for years to come.

Yet at the end of the 1980s, the French clothing industry was at a dead end. The shrill, kitschy American fashion provoked the rise of strict, reduced Japanese minimalism as a counter design to this. However, those who were becoming wealthy at the time wanted to show their wealth through tasteful fashion, which at the same time allowed them to quietly look at the outrageously high prices.

But the glamour of established French couture had long since faded by then.

Christian Lacroix's visions were the solution. Born in Arles in 1951, Lacroix uninhibitedly mixed the colorful joie de vivre of his native southern France with the exuberant excess of the aristocratic clothing of past centuries. In addition, he poached in the cultures of all countries - and still managed that his creations possessed the coveted French chic.

Such exceptional couture naturally had its price. From the beginning, the motto was: 'The more expensive, the better'. After all, it was primarily the internationally well-heeled clientele that was to be addressed.

However, this strategy entailed a risk. Although the 'Christian Lacroix' brand was expanded with a second line, children's and men's collections and perfume, among other things, the fashion house was never able to make a profit in 20 years.

The entrepreneur Arnault, who was spoiled by success, became active again. He sold the brand 'Christian Lacroix' in 2005 - without even informing the person Christian Lacroix about it. Christian Lacroix remained chief designer of the company he had created for another four years, but at the same time he founded a new company called XCLX, into which he put all his creative energy. In 2009 the former glamorous haute couture house 'Christian Lacroix' was finally bankrupt.

After the bankruptcy, the person Christian Lacroix left the company, the brand 'Christian Lacroix' was restructured and exists until today. This time, however, the focus in their portfolio is home decor, in which that typical wild mix of colors and styles from the namesake lives on, as well as various licensed stores and perfumes.

The person Christian Lacroix is also still an extremely sought-after creative mind. His ideas can be found in the costumes of major opera houses and theaters, in interior designs of hotels, as well as in streetcars of French cities. The uniforms of Air France personnel continue to be designed by him, as they have been for years, he has his own perfume line at Avon, and even the French Mint has hired him as a creative consultant.

Christian Lacroix may no longer preside over his own haute couture house, but demand for his eclectic mix of different eras, cultures, and diverse materials, fused with his signature Southern French joie de vivre, continues unabated to this day despite everything.
Research and text by BirdeeBirdee