Second life for Lacroix creations

The exuberant creations of French couturier Christian Lacroix, who lost his prestigious house last year, are to get a second life as part of France's national heritage.

The French culture ministry said Tuesday that the owners of the label had confirmed a donation of 11 outfits for the country's Decorative Arts Museum.

A further 3,000 haute couture models from collections dating from the creation of the label in 1987 to its demise in 2009 would be lent to national museums when necessary, the ministry said.

"Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand is pleased that this heritage of French haute couture will be preserved and thus enrich national collections," a statement said.

Asked to confirm the statement, the chief executive of the Christian Lacroix company Nicolas Topiol told AFP that the company "has always agreed to loan creations when asked."

The 3,000 models in its hands are currently in storage in a warehouse equipped with the appropriate facilities to insure the exclusive designs against the wear and tear of time.

Lacroix lost his house when a French court last December approved drastic cutbacks for the label, which lost nearly all its staff and its main clothes designing activities.

A Paris bankruptcy court approved a plan to end production of the classic label's haute couture and ready-to-wear lines, leaving 11 staff to manage licences for other products, including men's clothes, wedding dresses and perfumes.

The fashion house was founded in 1987 with the backing of the world's leading luxury giant LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton, which sold it in 2005 to the US duty-free giant Falic.

It ran up losses of 10 million euros (about 15 million dollars) in 2008 on sales of 30 million euros and later filed for bankruptcy, hit by the sharp downturn of the luxury market.

Christian Lacroix himself was the darling of the world's fashion editors in the 1990s, creating the first couture house to open in a quarter century in 1987 and dazzling with clashing colours and exuberant, over-the-top creations.

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