CHILDHOOD<br /><ul><li> Christian Lacroix was born on 16th May 1951 in Arles, in the south of France
Trinquetaille , home to his paternal grandparents
Arles- The true god of his childhood world in Arles was his maternal grandfather, a patriarch of consummate elegance.
Walking around the town he used to come across the gypsy encampment beside the canal, young girls making their first communion in organdie dresses and veils, the circuses and travelling fairs on the place de la Croisière, the trophies made of feathers, chocolate ribbons and crystallised fruits.
In summer, there was Verdi, Bizet or Gounot in the Roman theatre, the corrida, and the festival of costume on the first Sunday of July : with fisherwomen from Marseille and Arlésiennes in the fashions of Napoleon III, the eighteenth century or the Louis Philippe era, all parading before the queen of the festival, who was always on horseback and dressed in white.</li></li></ul><li>MONTPELLIER<br /><ul><li>In 1969, after his baccalaureate, he went to the University in Montpellier to study French literature.
Was introduced to the world of Wilde, Beardsley and other decadents of every order.
He did not enjoy much else at Montpellier with the exception of the firm friendships I made there and Henri Agel's lectures on the history of cinema, through which I discovered Renoir and all the other great classics.
One of the professors of literature introduced him to the works of Julien Gracq, and his Rivage des Syrtes became his staple reading matter.
He also read all of Delteil's works, savouring the richness of the language, the extravagant imagery, the elaborately turned phrases and the mannered style, all combined with a tremendous ruggedness which saved it from seeming affected or overblown. Later on, he was to attempt to apply to the art of fashion design the same principle of creating combinations that were at once rich and carefully balanced..</li></li></ul><li>69 was the summer<br />of Jean Bouquin, the fashion designer form Saint Tropez and of crazy, wild ideas in clothes. It was also a time which can now be seen as the swansong of that element of elitism which always used to be associated with elegance, the world of fashionable clothes and a sense of style. Ethnic designs mingled quite naturally with the rest, and fashion became like a treasure chest, an extravagant pot- pouri of different combinations and juxtapositions, of mixtures of styles and proportions in apparently infinite variety. It was another episode which made an indelible mark on him. At the beginning of the 70's, he found himself at La Chouraskaia which was the forerunner of great night-clubs .Specially imported bootleg Jimi Hendrix and Rolling Stones recordings mingled happily with Traditional music, Charles Trenet songs and high opera. For him it was the place that symbolised all the pleasures of the 1970's which he has never felt the need either to repudiate or to reassess - for who can ever turn their backs on the fashions, the style, the flavour of the time when they were eighteen years old? <br />
LONDON<br />There was, in about 1960, a teacher who came from London, who always wore an assortment of tweeds - which he liked ever since - and who sported a peculiarly English haircut, shaved high up into the nape of the neck and with a little quiff left on top. He imagined he must have come from a far-off land where time seemed to have stood still, with something vaguely 19th century about it. He has memories, in black and white, of afternoons spent in front of the television set watching adaptations of Dickens with their images of a gloomy, slightly medieval city and their evocation of a society peopled by eccentrics or lost children. To this were added frenetic readings of Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. There was also the world of Hammer horror films, of manor houses, churchyards and forests where monsters lurked or carriages with drawn blinds hurtled through the driving rain. The colours of these images were always in a very particularly range of dark browns and greens, with costumes that always looked too new... Hitchcock's early films, were set in England too... <br />
He made his first journey to London around 1966-67 and came with his head full of these fairytale images. He was not disappointed: he had the impression that he was actually entering the world of the films he loved so much. In fact the reality was even better than fiction, for this was an England that was still much more distinctively "English", more singular and inward-looking than it is now. Women still wore flowery hats, thick stockings and good sturdy shoes that were supposed to be comfortable. The trains still had patterned carpets and wooden surfaces; some of the men still wore bowler hats.And he gazed in wonder at the little suburban villas with their gaily painted front doors in shades of red and green. <br />
PARIS<br />He left home and came to Paris in 1971 to write a thesis on "Costume in 17th Century Painting", prepare for the competitive examination for Museum Curators and discover the city of light. It was there that he met his future wife, Francoise, who shared with him her interest in drawing and fashion design.She was the one who flung open the doors to his creative fulfilment. It was also in Paris that he met Jean-Jacques Picart, a press attache and advisor to several Paris designers. It was with Picart’s help that LaCroix landed his first fashion job, with Hermes. <br /> At Hermes, he collaborated with the couturier of the Japanese Imperial Court. Shortly thereafter, he moved to the couture house, Patou. He rose quickly at Patou, and with Picart, created his first haute couture collection in 1981. His designs were extravagant and boisterous in a time of minimalism. He used bright, sunny, provencal colors and lush velvets and taffetas. The collection was a huge success.<br />
In 1987, Christian Lacroix opened the House of LaCroix on the Rue du Faubourg St Honore with the artistic help of Picart and the financial backing of LVMH (Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton,) owners of the Dior, Givenchy, Celine, and Kenzo labels. It is the latest fashion house to be founded to this day. His first collection drew heavily on his provencal roots with bright yellows, reds, and blues.. This first collection included an embroidered bodice intertwining a cross, heart, and an anchor - representing love, hope, and faith. It was in this collection that he introduced the “pouf” or bouffant skirt. This taffeta skirt ballooned like a parachute from the waist ending just above the knees. It was to become a fashion classic. <br /> <br />
SIGNATURE STYLE<br />Christian LaCroix: the name evokes bright colors, luxuriant fabrics, and extravagance and to many, the last great star of Paris fashion. His designs are ostentatious, exuberant, and avant-garde. Lacroix soon made headlines with his opulent, fantasy creations, including the short puffball skirt ("le pouf"), rose prints, and low décolleté necklines. He quoted widely from other styles—from fashion history (the corset and the crinoline), from folklore, and from many parts of the world—and he mixed his quotations in a topsy-turvy manner. He favoured the hot colors of the Mediterranean region, a hodgepodge of patterns, and experimental fabrics (satins, velvets, laces, embroidery and furs), sometimes hand-woven in local workshops.<br />
THEATRE<br />For Lacroix, the theatre was the one he would make for himself as a young child. He used to like to place costumes on little cut-out cardboard silhouettes, then, when he came home from a play, he used to redesign the costumes and change the harmonies, colors, volumes. It was an inexhaustible way of entering once again into a reinvented and transfigured world where everything became plastic and possible. His first theatre costumes date from 1984/85 when he was still at Patou. The Nantes Theatre Group suggested he create the costumes for "Chantecler and since then he has regularly created costumes for the stage<br />
READY TO WEAR<br /> He followed his haute couture success in 1988 with a ready-to-wear line inspired by the designs of diverse cultures.. People travel more and more, enabling us to mix‘ n match world wide influences on one silhouette. The look is snappy and the silhouette sharp. The wardrobe is extended to every hour of the day and every occasion, with ever-present structure and ornamentation.<br />
ACCESSORIES<br />Accessories were launched in 1989, His shoes "finish” the leg lengthen it, are laced, coloured, often on high heels. Bags are lively and playful, often with little shoulder straps to twirl around the silhouette.<br />He gives a lot of care and attention to shoes, bags and jewellery because they define a posture, an all-over look. Jewellery reflects all his fantasies, gilt metal hearts, decorated with gems, rhinestones, glass, but also all the floral or abstract inspirations.<br />
BAZAAR<br />One day a magazine asked him to imagine some outfits using clothes from Mail Order catalogues. The result of this very sentimental work showed us another way of bringing collections to life and how well mixtures and anachronisms can blend together. Bazaar was born in 1994, complementary to the other lines but zapping more than ever between folklore and the different eras. This is a collection that makes a daring take on proportion, lengths and materials. Knitwear is very important, very elaborate, with multi-cultural decorative patterns harmonizing together, all in daily citywear styles. <br /> Teenagers have been an extremely important factor over the last ten years too. This is the age when we are simultaneously the most conformist and the most radical. Resulting in trends, labels and looks born from music and sport. Bazaar is not specifically designed for the young. It's a complementary and a little less expensive way of putting together a wardrobe, anchored in the reality of consumer-buying with a touch of fantasy. <br />
PERFUME<br />Christian Lacroix first launches floral perfumes in 1999 with “C’est La Vie” being the first fragrance. For Winter 2007, He has partnered with Avon cosmetics to introduce a new fragrance exclusive to Avon called Christian Lacroix Rouge for women and Christian Lacroix Noir for men. His Avon product line was expanded with the release of Christian Lacroix Absynthe in the Spring of 2009.<br />
LIFESTYLE PRODUCTS<br />According to Lacroix, fashion and lifestyle go hand in hand.In 1995, he created a line of house linen, sheets and towels,with mix patterns and colors with a concern for refined finishing. In 1998, he added Tableware.<br />He has taken the carnation and evoked all his other passions in drawings on an arabesque theme. For cutlery, he has used passementerie with every possible kind of interlaced design. Crystal has allowed him to explore the colorful world of cabochons and table linen every sort of lace, scroll and heart damask... All in the colors that are sweetest to him, the deep pastels and gold. <br />
JEANS<br />What Lacroix likes about the street is the individuality it underlines and this is what made him want to design a collection that combines the past, present and future, inspired by popular tradition and world-wide ethnic cultures, starting from the idea of denim. This is how Jeanswas born in 1996. He transformed them with embroidery, coordinating them, applying them with lace... while leaving their natural, subtle and chic style intact. <br />
WEDDING DRESSES<br />Since his first collection, he has always created wedding dresses that hover somewhere between a pious image, Macarena of Seville and the princesses from A thousand and One Nights! He has even used a 19th century tradition of brides dressed in red or black. Whatever the style, the wedding dress must be truly outstanding for an outstanding day. He likes it to live several lives, classically grandiose for the religious ceremony, freed from the train or skirt for dancing. From the Arlesian woman to the fairytale shepherdess, in faille, piqué, taffeta, tulle, embroidery, lace, the list is inexhaustible…<br />
OTHER WORKS<br />In 2002, Christian Lacroix took up another challenge. He was named artistic director of the Florentine fashion house Emilio Pucci. He has designed costumes for the Paris Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, the Comedie Francaise, and recently coaches for the TGV Med- the new high speed train between Paris and Nice. He has also been the designer of the new uniform of Air France staff and crew in 2004 and pyjamas signed by him are handed out to passengers travelling on Air France First Class (L'Espace Premier).<br />
AWARDS<br />Lacroix has received many awards for his work. Among them are the De D’or (the Golden Thimble, France’s most prestigious fashion award) in 1986 and again in 1988. In 1987, he was named the Most Influential Foreign Designer by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur (France’s highest award given to a civilian) in 2002 on the 15th anniversary of the house of LaCroix.<br />
BUSINESS PLAN<br />The company was founded in 1987 by Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton). The concept was to start with haute couture, at the apex of the luxury pyramid, and develop from it a range of ready-to-wear, accessories and fragrances. This was the system that had reaped mighty profits for established houses like Christian Dior and Chanel.<br /> Christian Lacroix has become a victim of the global financial crisis as the U.S.-owned fashion house bearing his name filed for court protection from creditors on May 28, 2009.The voluntary petition(bankruptcy protection) was filed with the commercial court in Paris, which has to decide whether to restructure or liquidate the company. The brand intended to continue operating during the process, but the news brings an end to the luxury business model.<br />
Despite years of critical success, the company failed to break even, let alone turn a profit. Mr. Arnault sold Lacroix in 2005 to the Florida-based Falic Group, known for its Duty Free Americas chain. The Falic brothers aimed to refocus the luxury brand at the peak, subsequently suppressing the lower-priced clothing and jeans lines.<br /> Lacroix was badly hit in the United States, where it has opened two stores in New York and Las Vegas and where buyers have recently reduced or cancelled orders.<br /> The loss of Christian Lacroix to Paris haute couture is immeasurable. Although the designer hopes to hold a small presentation during the July couture season, this was the last house established under the formal couture rules. Even a restructuring would likely have severe implications on his 125-member staff.<br />