Friday, October 23, 2009

How do you solve a problem like Lacroix?

We are reminded a little bit by the How do you solve a problem like Maria song from The Sound of Music when thinking about Christian Lacroix.  Without a doubt, everyone loves the work and vision of Christian Lacroix.  We root for him, we want the very best for him, we want to wear one of his haute couture dresses and we want to become one of the women in his head that he designs for.   

I would probably loose the ability of speech if I had even just the opportunity to see the Alice in Wonderland dress from the December 2003 issue of Vogue that was worn by Natalia Vodianova up close.  I would probably weep from joy if I had the opportunity to touch and wear that breathtaking periwinkle blue frilled lamé ruffled skirt with the perfect blood red bow hand stenciled with trailing ribbons, and the lace top with a painted mink dickey.  The response to seeing the work of Christian Lacroix is not literal but visceral. You don't think, I need that dress for such and such ocassion.  You just know that you desperately want it because it is the most beautiful, the most incredible thing that you have ever seen.  He takes fabric, lace, color, embroidery and transforms it into something magnificent, something unimagined, something that becomes the definition of impossible beauty and joy.  

But the problem with Lacroix, like the problem with Maria, is how do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?  How do you turn the dream of the haute couture into the reality of commercial ready to wear?  

And maybe the answer is, that you don't.  Maybe not every designer is meant for the destiny of handbags and shoes to be sold around the world.  Maybe there should be a salon where private clients go.  Maybe there should be small collections of the perfect cocktail dress, the perfect coat, the perfect evening ensemble sold exclusively in very few stores.  Maybe there should be tights (he always has had the best stockings) that we can all buy, maybe there should be make up (hello!  Lacroix and color!) and why can't there be perfume again?  Maybe in a global economy, intimacy and exclusivity should be celebrated and growth should be measured and complimentary to the brand.
But maybe what there should absolutely not be is badly done ready to wear which lessens the value of the brilliance and the artistry of the couture and then further lessens the value of the whole brand. Maybe less, truly is more, which is a little ironic in the case of Lacroix.

By this time, you can probably tell that while we are enormous admirers of Christian Lacroix's magical haute couture we have not been huge fans of recent Christian Lacroix ready to wear. But the vintage pieces are something altogether different: Mr. Lacroix is there, effort is there, quality is there. 

From an early collection of ready to wear we have a beautiful black silk gazar cocktail dress with a luscious bow in the front.  There is shape and lightness at the same time.  The back of the dress has a panel inspired by the 18th century robe volante that hangs, beginning at the waist, slightly lower then the hem of the dress.  It is Lacroix paired down to extraordinary simplicity but still as lush and as much a part of his dreamlike couture world that there is no disappointment. This is just the kind of piece that we think Lacroix should be doing now as a complement to the more rarified haute couture.

1980s Christian Lacroix silk gazar cocktail dress.  Size 6/8.

The other piece that we think also perfectly exemplifies Lacroix and certainly 1980s Christian Lacroix is this whimsically shaped bag with large gilt charms dangling from the bottom.  You see potential backers, Lacroix can do handbags!  They may not be the blockbuster IT bag that we have thrust at us now in every ad campaign but then again, you never know.  Back to our bag, we love if for a dressy evening out but we also would love it with something more casual - really, how amazing would this look with a cropped pant with a little volume, a plain tee and a leather jacket?!  

1980s Christian Lacroix whimsically shaped bag with charms.

For more information about this item please email or call (212) 581 7273

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