Friday, October 21, 2011

Love Letter to Lacroix

Lately I have been thinking a lot about and collecting French Haute Couture from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. The Paris runways are always decadent and über glamorous, but this particular time period bore fashions that were particularly Baroque in their luxe. Of course, Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel is an obvious example, with his icy elegance as are Galliano and McQueen, but lately I've been obsessing on Christian Lacroix and his legacy of fantastical creations that summed up that era with an exuberant joie de vivre. 

I first fell in love with the designs of Christian Lacroix as a young girl, hungrily flipping through fashion magazines. I recall the first image was of his iconic silver haired model/muse Marie Seznec in a giant poufy skirt and laced bodice, a dizzying cross between a towering strawberry shortcake and Marie Antoinette on hallucinogens. 

Unlike other designers, whom you practically need a chisel to crack through the impenetrable façade of reserved sophistication and cool, with Lacroix's creations you are invited into the fantasy to revel at the technicolor plumage, exotic patterns that rhapsodically clash in the most brilliant way, all tied together with endless ropes of sparkling rhinestones. 

During Christian Lacroix's runway extravaganzas, the models would invite you in to their cabaret with cheeky rouged smiles and flirty glances, making the clothes seem extra sexy, approachable, even touchable. Wearing Lacroix, you would be the life of the party or even the party itself, decked out like an iced pink champagne cake.

Next is a fantastic early Christian Lacroix runway show from 1988.

In the above video at 1:55 is a model in a yellow and black jeweled bustier with a canary yellow chignon who is wearing the large Christian Lacroix gold cross necklace that we are currently featuring in the Pearl Modern store.

                                                                                 available here


Below is an incredible black and gold ensemble from 2007.      

An artistic masterpiece from 2009.

Below, a gorgeous Baroque brooch by Christian Lacroix!

                                                                                                                                           available here

Next, we have a Christian Lacroix runway show from the Fall/Winter of 2002/2003.

I truly miss Christian Lacroix and the magic he created every Spring and Fall. He was a master couturier at the highest technical level, but most of all, he was a genius visual artist, a painter whose media was the lightest tulle, the richest velvet and the most divine feathers. 

In closing, we have a tremendous Christian Lacroix runway show from 2003.

1 comment:

  1. It's really helpful to hear you enthuse about Christian Lacroix. I have always loved the colour and theatre of his shows, but been increasingly mystified by his clothes. Who could wear them, and to where? I'm far often far too practical about clothes. Could I run in it? Can I put a coat over it? How is this cleaned etc. And as the owner of a natural j cup bra, there are always the 'How do I wear that without a bra? How would I wear that with a bra? reality issues.

    I loved his mastery of tailoring, as so well depicted in the 1988 vid. (Thanks for that) They are so much fun and totally wearable, (still) and make-able. But as time has passed his designs have become more de-constructed, fantastic and often slashed to the waist. He is not the only haute couture designer who's work I admire but feel unfortunately increasingly distanced from. But it is these practical issues that ignited my love of vintage, and why I now make clothes based on designs from about 1915-45 because as far as body shape, and if needed, practicality is concerned, they are far more democratic and forgiving.

    I'm not having a moan though, great post, and bloody great site. You keep me inspired.