Fashion: The kitsch in sync

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The Independent Online

Minimalists beware: the flamboyant designer Christian Lacroix is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his couture house by putting his opulent stamp on an exhibition, a book, a high-street collection and, as ever, the catwalk.

As a student, Lacroix always wanted to be a curator, and now he is overseeing the exhibition at the Muse de la Mode et du Textile in Paris. It features his own pieces alongside those from designers including Lanvin and Dior, and is organised by theme many of which reflect Lacroix's own preoccupation with mixtures and colour. In the accompanying book, Christian Lacroix on Fashion, the designer describes white as "the colour most alien to me". Even his bridal gowns come in red or gold, sometimes with black veils.

Although the price tags on his couture and ready-to-wear creations might limit his customer base, he has just designed a second collection for affordable French catalogue La Redoute. Despite this his reputation has been tinged with high camp. He became known to a wider audience through the TV comedy Absolutely Fabulous, PR maven Edina's catchphrase, "It's Lacroix, darling", and a cameo earning him cult status. Lacroix doesn't seem to care: he acknowledges in the book that he has "a long-standing love of bad taste".

'Christian Lacroix, Histoires de Mode' is showing at Muse de la Mode et du Textile, 107 Rue de Rivoli, Paris (+33 144 55 57 50), until 6 April 2008. 'Christian Lacroix on Fashion', published by Thames & Hudson, is out now

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