one of Christian Lacroix’s earlier ads from 1990
The news has hit that Christian Lacroix SNC has declared insolvency, the French equivalent of chapter 11. It marks the first incident of a high profile couture house succumbing to the pressures and reality of the recession. Yet for some, this development comes as no surprise. The recession is hard for all but it’s with the companies who were already in turmoil that it becomes fatal.
The problems at Lacroix began almost as soon as Bernard Arnault lured the designer away from his position at Patou, tempted with the grandeur of his own couture house. Arnault was keen to turn a profit with another star brand for the LVMH portfolio. Almost as soon as the house was established economic downturn in the late 80’s shifted fashion towards a taste that no longer had room for Lacroix’s opulent historicism. It moved to the ethnic inspirations of Armani, the minimalism of Jil Sander and Helmut Lang, and the sexy but svelte attitude of Versace and Tom Ford’s Gucci.
Even throughout the 90’s, as detailed by Terri Agin’s The End Of Fashion, Lacroix never seemed to produce the sales numbers to equal his esteem, an issue never resolved by LVMH leading to the company’s sale. Still, after a season where so many designers paid homage to the greats of the 80’s, especially Lacroix, there must be something in his masterful and whimsical creations to incite desire and to move product.