“The idea of seeing everybody clad the same is not really my cup of tea”
“Lacroix, sweety, Lacroix” is a phrase difficult to separate from the outrageous world of Absolutely Fabulous – excess, eccentricity and the need for more, hallmarks for both the wondrous world of Lacroix and Ab Fab. Heralded by some as the ‘saviour of couture’, and for many the epitome of ‘80s fashion the house of Lacroix has been shocking and exciting us since its conception in 1987. Lacroix brought new life to a fashion industry entrenched with the ideals of minimalism and instead embraced a manifesto of colour and detail and extravagance.
Fashion was not however his initial ambition. Lacroix left home to study Art History at the University of Montpellier, later moving onto Sorbonne, Paris where he worked on his dissertation on French dress in 18th century painting alongside a degree in Museum Studies. The role of Museum curator was where he was heading not fashion. Many of the fantastical creations the house of Lacroix was known for took influence from his fascination with the past and the world around him. Folk art, mysticism and rose motifs became synonymous with his designs. Bold, daring and escapist in character, artistry on the cat walk. Such extravagance however came at a price and the fashion house Christian Lacroix fell into administration in 2009.
This did not however signal the end of Lacroix. Since 2009 Lacroix has busied himself with numerous other engagements – curating exhibitions, such as the Musee du quai Branly’s exhibition on Eastern costume (2011) and creating costumes for Berlin’s state opera’s rendition of Handel’s Aggrapina. Lacroix also has delved into interiors, taking on the challenge of furniture and large scale Interior Design commissions. Lacroix himself now however has little to do with the House that bears his name – but his legacy still lives on.
Under the leadership of Sacha Walkhoff the House of Lacroix has moved beyond the catwalk and into the world of interiors through their inspiring collaboration with Designers Guild. The collections lavish in the level of opulence and decoration expected by any item from the school of Lacrox.
Rugs, fabrics, wallpapers and cushions have replaced skirts, dresses and shoes but theatricality and drama reign supreme, extravagance is once more embraced! Elements and influences drawn from Lacroix’s interests in history, art and civilisations are still in abundance – creating an idyll of exoticism in and amongst the litany of greys and beiges (safe, comfortable and restrained) that mark our homes.
Incroyables et Merveilleuses, the latest offering at the altar of interiors, is a celebration of history and nature – a celebration of roots and progression- providing an almost utopian vision of eccentricity and exoticism. The colour palette is brimming with rich hues of yellows, reds and blues – primary, simple and clean. The patters dense and eclectic in character, ranging from stylised depictions of the roses that Lacroix is known for, to the repeating motifs of rosettes, emblems and badges found in ‘Cocarde’ (in French this is a rosette made from ribbons and beads worn by French soldiers commandeered by women as hat and clothing decorations in the wake of the Revolution). Stripes offer a calming balance to this powerful collection, while the likes of ‘Ciel Liberte’ create something refreshing, unique and hopeful with its abstract clouds and soft colours – the ‘wind of liberty’ the name refers to.
The sentiment of anything being possible and a lack of limitations is prevalent across the board of the collections available. A romantic notion of design that Lacroix has claimed to be the nature of the fashion world when he first entered into its arena in the late 1980s, yet appears to have been lost with the decline of Couture. Each collection bears its own unique character – daring and distinctive – capable of creating something new and exciting to be revelled in as much any fashion item, leaving you with a desire for more. We await with eager eyes the next collection.