Lacroix is back! Well, sort of. He's been pinned (pun intended) to craft a one-off haute-couture collection for the house of Schiaparelli, showing in Paris this July. Which is very exciting news.
My opinion? Christian Lacroix is the only man for the job: the one who could reinterpret without slavishly copying, a man who can pastiche and poke fun without falling into le gag. Lacroix is also a dab hand at the made-to-measure craft of haute couture – he revived Jean Patou's custom business before launching his own maison in 1987.
Lacroix's couture collections were always flights of fancy that clients lapped up. In that respect, he and Elsa Schiaparelli are ideal bedfellows.
The house of Lacroix went into administration in 2009. But couture gave him a lifeline. More than one of Lacroix's couture clients offered to buy the house. At Schiaparelli, Lacroix has been brought in to create a 15-piece couture “capsule” inspired by Elsa's archive.
The last time a couture collection shifted the mood of the time was… well, Lacroix's first own-label haute-couture collection back in July 1987, a frilly avalanche of petticoats and lavishly trimmed gowns that epitomised the heady heights of Eighties excess before Black Monday floored all the fun in October of the same year.
With the couture markets in Brazil and the Far East booming, Schiaparelli's owner, Diego Della Valle, is hoping for more July 1987 than October. But two questions posed to Lacroix time and time again during a 1987 trip to New York still beg answers: “How do you sit on a bustle?” and “Who can afford your clothes?” The latter will be ascertained when the orders are totted up. As for the former? You perch on the edge of your seats. Exactly where the fashion world will be come 1 July.
Alexander Fury is editor of LOVE magazine
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