The New York Times reports the sad news that the fashion house of Christian Lacroix filed for bankruptcy earlier today. No real surprise. The uncompromisingly exuberant maximalism of Lacroix, one of the last of the true couturiers, couldn't be more out of tune with the times.
Luckily for M.Lacroix, his second career - costume design for the stage - is flourishing. His recent operatic commissions include gowning Renee Fleming for the Met's opening gala (above). Perhaps that puffy mess of boudoir curtainage and balled-up kleenex is not one of his best. But he redeemed himself with the exquisite frocks he crafted for Renee's Thaïs (below), embodying carnal temptation in daring cuts, sumptuous fabrics, cunning trompe l'oeil and sneaky boning. Before she was Lacroixed, who would ever have guessed that mumsy Renee could look so hawt?
"I have always been attracted to costume design and possibly even before I started fashion design. This comes from a passion for history that has been with me since my childhood, within my imaginative universe and the games I played. I’ve always enjoyed searching for historical truths or restoring them by designing scenery, furniture and costumes. It’s fascinating to dress one’s age. But it’s even more exhilarating and deeply moving to experience the wings, the dressing rooms, the make-up, the powder and the magic of theatre. A fashion show does not create this silent dialogue with the public. I feel it deeply today as I work on "Nozze di Figaro" costumes for the Aix-en-Provence festival, as I did before working on "Phèdre" for the Comédie- Française, as well as when, for the very first time, I worked on "Chantecler", staged in Nantes twenty years ago. Jean-Luc Tardieu had then come to me for costumes, after seeing my somewhat strange clothes at Patou's. Theatre has become much more than a recreation, as this art cannot bear mediocrity nor lack of passion.”
Looks like he'll have a lot more time for it now.
Production photos: Metropolitan Opera