"I can't think this is the end," Christian Lacroix told Associated Press Television News after his haute couture show in Paris today. "It's the beginning of something, I hope." With highly publicised receivorship proceedings in the works, the brand that's become the epitome of baroque couture has two main options: to find a new financial backer (the company will accept letters of intent from would-be buyers until the end of July) or to liquidate and leave a few employees at the house, which would be reduced to a licensing operation. Either way, a decision should be more clear by month's end.
And that means that if, sadly, it's option two, today's show was Lacroix's swan song. Only the 12 models were paid for their work (Christian Lacroix is so cash-strapped that no other expense could be afforded, and it could take 50 million euros to relaunch the brand), and even shoes were donated.
But about the clothes. They were as Paris-glamour as couture fans have come to expect, with dark and ruffled evening dresses competing with black trapeze coats and slinky-backed frocks paired with turbans competing for the most attention. The show closed with an especially Catholic wedding dress, for which the symbolism of a final prayer couldn't be ignored.
The show, attended by Carine Roitfeld and Anna Piaggi, closed with a 'Christian Lacroix Forever' banner across the runway and the couturier himself shedding a few tears. We know that Louise Wilson says writers shouldn't always be so complimentary, but we can't help but hope those tears will flow again after sartorial salvation.
Ines de la Fressange
Italian Vogue fashion editor Anna Piaggi
'Christian Lacroix Forever' banner