The Fashion Statement: Life after Couture
There's life after haute couture.
Christian Lacroix, who delivered his last haute couture collection in Paris on July 2008 to rave reviews, has not chosen to spend his post-retirement days at the beach. Instead, it appears the designer is busier than ever. Lacroix has reinvented himself as museum curator, furniture designer and a fairytale book illustrator. He's also planning to design costumes for a German opera company and is putting out a women's capsule collection for a Spanish clothing brand.
What the couture fashion world has lost in Lacroix--he no longer has anything to do with his namesake label that, after bankruptcy, was acquired by a duty free shops company in Florida--the art and design world has gained. This month alone, you can see what he's done with a museum and a book.
As the artistic director of "Women in Orient," he has curated an exhibition of costumes and accessories that opened earlier this week Quai Branly Museum in Paris and runs through May 16. It's mostly ceremonial clothing from Syria, Jordan and Palestine during the 19th and 20th centuries. But under Lacroix's direction--the designer likes to blend a French sensibility with the exotic--you can expect to see an eye-arresting, rich melange of contrasting patterns and embroidery.
Gallery: Christian Lacroix Sleeping Beauty
Lacroix has also been trying his hand at illustration. The designer has collaborated with British journalist Camilla Morton in "Christian Lacroix and the Tale of the Sleeping Beauty." In it, Lacroix blends elements of his own life story alongside the plot of the famous fairytale. So, the beauty is a crazed, obsessed fashionista, fashion editors are magical god-fairies, and there's prince--in this case Lacroix--who ends up giving the girl what she wants: a fabulous dress. This is the first in a series of designer memoirs-slash-fairy tales penned by Morton. Manolo Blahnik has been signed up for the next tale...about elves.
And the designer is trying his hand at furniture--a partnership with Ravenna, Italy-based SICIS that specializes in mosaic art. Inspired by the Byzantine Empress Theodora and Arles, Lacroix's hometown and romantic region known for its Roman tiles and sought after antiquities, a collection is born. "Having the privilege of being brought up between monuments, museums and 17th century houses –- all well-steeped in the history of art -- gave me the confidence that everything could be mixed up, particularly the most extreme styles such as baroque, neo-classical, post-modern, kitsch and pop," the designer says.
Lacroix has not abandoned designing clothes altogether. He has teamed up with Spanish brand Desigual and to design a capsule collection of lingerie, jackets and skirts called Monsieur Lacroix out this fall.