Different eras of fashion inspired Lacroix for his haute couture collection, writes Hilary Alexander, Fashion Director
Christian Lacroix is having an extremely busy year, off-catwalk. But one which is allowing him free rein to express his passion and enthusiasm for historical costume and the stage.
Christian Lacroix a/w haute couture collectionRecently, he’s designed the costumes for the Comedie Francaise’s Cyrano de Bergerac, as well as for a production of Don Giovanni in Innsbruck and a Cosi Fan Tutti in Marseille. But he’s still bristling with ideas. He’s hoping to fulfill his dream of doing costumes for Carmen, Salome and Turandot – and “La Traviata .. how I’d adore to do that! And then there’s Strauss!”
Lacroix’s passion and interest in opera costume has been fuelled, too, by his recent appointment as president of the National Centre for Stage and Costume. He’s preparing a big exhibition for the association’s 20th anniversary next year. “It’s fantastic for me,” he said backstage at the Ecole des Beaux Arts on the Left Bank, before his autumn/winter couture show yesterday. “I have all these centuries to inspire me, 15th, 16th, 17th and, of course, Victoriana, which I adore.”
All of these references were present in his magical presentation which drew on the past with a light hand. “I like to look at period costume with a new eye,” he said. This meant frock-coats with tiers of ruffles cascading down the back, in olive wool; gold-embroidered spencers and boleros in rose and lilac, allied to short, lace dresses in complementary shades; Napoleonic military coats in black cashmere, adorned with gleaming gilt epaulettes; and Empress Josephine dresses in celadon, chocolate and olive silk chiffon, detailed at the empire-line with satin and velvet ribbons and turquoise jewels and then caught behind the knee with a bow and tapering in around the ankles.
Lacroix gave free rein to his delight in colour in dramatic evening gowns. A giant purple rose completely covered the front of a long skirt in black silk gazar, with a bodice in glitter lace and violet. A red lace, ruffled blouse came with a flamenco-style ball-skirt in tiers of scarlet and fuschia taffeta.
The English model, Lily Cole, made a suitably historical bride in a red velvet military bolero, embellished with gilt braid and embroidery, over a long wedding gown of palest ivory taffeta.
"It is not money that makes you well dressed: it is understanding."
I wonder howcome there is only men's line of Lacroix still running? and it seems not designed by himself.
I wish he could still present Couture collection, even once each two years with only ten looks, I'm still crazy for it.