Thursday, July 9, 2009

Christian Lacroix

The statement : Elegance is Refusal.... Nothing describes better Lacroix's Fall 09 Haute Couture collection. It was a statement of complete and utter refusal. Nothing extraneous. Nothing frivolous. Every piece , detail,and fabric was meant.
I have no interest in beating a dead horse and re-telling the sordid circumstances in which he and his ateliers find themselves. We all know and yet Lacroix and his dreadfully reduced hands (only 12 remain) ,with the generosity of friends and supportive suppliers, designed one of the most exquisite collections of his career. Using existing fabrics, a minimum of embroideries,some created in house by these loyal seamstresses and donated shoes by Roger Vivier all melded together to make a statement about the true art of the couturier.
Christian Lacroix gave his audience and the world one example after another of what it means to cut, to drape to combine elements that add up to a unique and completely original view of glamor. The collection appears so deceptively simple and yet is the highest and most technically challenging example of the couture. The fact that it was done so artlessly is mind boggling. Models all in black turbans, a whisper of make up, a bold eyebrow and the quietest step. This elevated the clothes in a pallette which was almost all black, navy and a touch of white. There was a sense of deep introversion to the overall collection though some were suits for day and most were dresses and a rare gown for night. These designs seem to be expressions of his soul, the very essence of shape that made real the poetry that dwells within him. After the first 3 or 4 exits I got this overwhelming sense that I was looking at a love letter to Little Edith Beale. It wasn't the turban at all. It was this idea of taking fabric, in this case a printed silk charmeuse, the design of which was pure Franz Kline ,and wrapping and draping it to create a dress of sorts. Eccentric, unorthodox in it's silhouette, yet completely modern. Several other designs were riveting in their audacious mix of elements, volumes and decoration. Not to take away from Lacroix's vision, but it felt like Edith Beale was his muse in all her beauty,originality and strangeness. Like both documentaries, I came away with an aching heart.
This collection ended with a bride , the exact image of Madonnas one sees in roadside shrines throughout Europe.
The collection was divine in the heavenly sense. Something greater than all it's parts ; something larger than Lacroix was shared that day. If ever there was a reason to support and revere Haute Couture, Christian Lacroix's collection is that reason. It's not about the surface , it's all about one's soul.


AS said...

Very nice post. I admire the talent of C. Lacroix. He managed putting together a collection when dealing with a failing business. I see it as an homage paid to his team but also as an act to deal with his own responsibilities and not being a victim. This is noble in a way.
What is even more interesting is that situation took Lacroix on a more restrained path. It was a rupture, someone dealing with a new environment and still his voice, his talent are here, well in the now.
What i love about this collection is that I compare it to a successful encore at a show, or the dessert that still trigger your appetite after an eight course menu. Even when you think you are done, you have seen it all and ready to conclude you have this nice touch to surprise you. Hopefully it will evolve and take the direction of something great.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Fluff on todays NYTs article! Go get em!

Anonymous said...

When it comes to this collection, I honestly can't think of anything else to say other than, "I die." OK. So its trite. We all know who coined the phrase and she's silly. But CL's last (hopefully not) collection takes my breath away. Necessity is the mother of invention? Or maybe, the lack of access to new supplies was a blessing in disguise. Whatever cliche you want to use, there are no words that adequately describe how brilliant this collection was. I look at the photos over an over and I don't breathe for minutes.