The looming question is can Lacroix be saved? But the show went on. In a pared down but no less beautiful Couture collection, the great French designer delivered a round of Lacroix best ofs. Spanish influence, ruffles, extravagant beading, lace, bows, draping, polka dots, and black. Makeup and hair was minimal — black headwraps delivered a slight mood of mourning. This wasn't the most optimistic collection, but longtime customers will manage to find (final?) additions to their collections. And love was in the audience — attendees sported "Christian Lacroix Forever" badges and each look was greeted with applause. Lacroix, must, survive.
Christian Lacroix showed his last couture collection in Paris today . . . or did he? Last Friday, employees were informed of a potential restructuring plan which would cut the workforce from 124 to 12. But now, Lacroix’s chief executive officer, Nicolas Topiol, said that letters of intent will be sent and offers from buyers will be accepted until the end of July. "The alternative is a liquidation, and that’s what nobody wants."
In the meantime, today's show at Arts Decoratifs was on a strict budget. In fact, it is being said that since models in France must be paid by law, Lacroix himself, as well as others, paid them from their own pockets. The fate of Christian Lacroix remains to be seen, but let's hope it doesn't end in bankruptcy.
Christian Lacroix May Have Just Shown His Last Couture Show for Fall 2009; Will He Go Back Into LVMH Fold?
>> Last Friday, employees at Christian Lacroix were informed the the workforce would be cut from 124 to 12, and the house would close at the end of July — effectively reducing it to a licensing operation — unless a buyer could be found. Today at the Arts Decoratifs, Lacroix showed what may be his last couture collection to just over 200 guests, a set of 24 looks entirely privately financed, which the designer described as: "A collection which is finished, but which was not completed under the usual conditions. It is like a sketch, a drawing for a painting . . . the classic repertory of the house, what is left, the hard disk."
The mood was sober, but staid: badges declaring "Christian Lacroix Forever" were handed out and a sign reading similar was held across the runway. There were tears aplenty as the designer took his walk with bride Vlada Roslyakova, and no red carnations were on the seats, ready to toss in the finale as has been the custom at Lacroix's couture shows since he started in 1987. But he did receive a standing ovation, and Lacroix is not ready to give up: "What really churns my stomach is wondering what is going to become of the workrooms and, for the moment, none of the solutions I am looking at would save the couture side of the business."
Some are wondering if he may renew his relationship with LVMH — under whom he originally launched his label in 1987. Just an hour after his own show closed, he was spotted backstage and front row at the LVMH-supported Givenchy show, where he posed for photos with Delphine Arnault. The Times UK noted that Lacroix, "beaming in the front row at Givenchy doesn't look like a man whose label is finished."
>> Dior To Show Twice at Couture, Lacroix's Early Collection Reviews "Glowing"—Despite Vogue only sending a "very small" team and Elle sending two people — creative director Joe Zee and executive accessories editor Kate Davidson Hudson — John Galliano is planning to show his Fall 2009 Dior couture collection twice because he's using a smaller location this year. Meanwhile, Carlos Souza is inaugurating his return to Valentino with a big bash post-show, and early reports of Christian Lacroix's "fightback" couture collection are "pretty glowing." [FWD]
Christian Lacroix Will Have Live Models at His Fall 2009 Couture Show, Supports Alexandra Shulman's Size Zero Stance
>> Over the weekend, Christian Lacroix told the Telegraph UK that he would be having a Fall 2009 Couture show — "and it won't be a funeral: it'll be a fightback." Now, we have more details.
A spokeswoman for the designer confirmed today that Lacroix is having a "very small and simple presentation" on July 7, with 20 outfits on live models. In his interview with the Telegraph UK, Lacroix stated that it "can't cost us a single euro to put this show on," which means that any model (as well as any other staff) working at the upcoming show will have volunteered her time without pay.
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Despite all the flux, Lacroix will show a Couture collection on July 7.
Sneak peek of Beth Ditto's plus size collection for Evans.
>> Last time we checked in with Christian Lacroix, he was remaining optimistic about his bankruptcy situation, and that hasn't changed, despite the fact that he needs to find an investor in the next two weeks or jobs are going to start being cut (possibly including his own). He's taken the opportunity to give up wine and chocolate, he tells the Telegraph UK: "Actually losing a few pounds and having this battle to fight makes me feel that I am undergoing a renaissance."
And fighting he is: "Don't tell anyone, because I'm not allowed to do this, but we absolutely are going to have a show in mid-July, during Fashion Week — and it won't be a funeral: it'll be a fightback."
>> While Christian Lacroix is hoping that his label can emerge out of administration with new ownership, he's already got one couture client who offered to bail him out. He turned her down: “I prefer her as a client rather than chairwoman.”
Lacroix says that his widely acclaimed Fall 2009 collection will probably not be produced, because the factory is among the house's creditors, and the Fall 2009 couture show is up in the air. He is still sketching in hopes that something will come together, but there is no budget to use any outside suppliers like embroiderers and not even a photocopier in the office.
Lacroix blames part of the label's 35 percent drop in sales — which expedited the bankruptcy filing earlier this month — to cuts in materials and manufacturing: “If you decide to do something in the deluxe field, you have to go all the way. Even the best factory can’t make beautiful clothes with cut-rate fabrics.”
As for the future of the company, he acknowledged that if the company is not sold, it might be reduced to a licensing operation with only a handful of employees. But he's staying optimistic: “I know that my work, my inspiration and my creativity is not minimal and not so easy to make, but we have the proof that with skill and cleverness and good partnerships, it’s possible . . . The best way to fight would be to do a beautiful collection."