Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Lacroix struggles to save firm, puts on mini-show

Christian Lacroix staged what could be his last haute couture show in Paris on Tuesday (July 7), displaying a stripped-down, mostly black collection put together with the help of friends and artisans who worked for free.
Since the loss-making fashion house was placed under creditor protection more than a month ago, the small community of couturiers, clients and artisans has been abuzz with talk of what this means for the world's most exclusive fashion scene.

Lacroix was forced to economise on fabrics and materials, putting all his couture skills into creating the reduced collection which was dominated by dark black and blue.

"It's fine for Lacroix, it's his talent and he's going to keep it ... it's a pity for all the people who've been working for him, especially people doing embroidery, feathers. In Paris, they still exist," model and muse Ines de la Fressange said after the show just next to the Louvre, surrounded by fashionistas wearing badges saying "Christian Lacroix forever".

Like many industry insiders, she worried about the effect of Lacroix' woes on the "petites mains" -- the dying breed of artisans whose skills make Parisian high fashion special.

"I wore the first dress that came out of Christian Lacroix's workshop in July 1987.So you see that I'm loyal and I like him today as much as I did the very first day," added client Pia de Brontes.

The collection of demure black dresses with lace inserts or fur collars showed the subtle side of couture, while a bridal gown embellished with flowers and gold embroidery, topped with a Spanish-style mantilla, made for a dramatic finish as the model marched to "I Did It My Way" in Spanish.

"He's a national treasure of France and as such, for haute couture, should be saved," said Patricia Rossignol, a client in a black Lacroix dress who had flown in from Florida.

PARIS, FRANCE (JULY 7, 2009) REUTERS