A humble origin
Christian Lacroix, the famous jeweler, fashion designer and entrepreneur, began studying art history at the University of Montpellier in hopes of becoming an art critic. He also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris as an art historian. During his dissertation, Lacroix pursued a program at the École du Louvre in museum studies in order to become museum curator in the future.
Around this time he met his muse, unconditional supporter and future wife Françoise Rosenthiel. In four years the couple will celebrate their 50th anniversary. Rosenthiel encouraged Lacroix’s interest in fashion and soon the young Lacroix began his career as a fashion journalist under the umbrella of the Hermes Fashion House. Later, after receiving the prestigious CFDA Award for Most Successful Designer of the Year, Lacroix dared to create his own brand.
In April 1987 the house was founded by Christian Lacroix with the help of press representative Jean-Jacques Picart and with the support of Bernard Arnault. The name Christian Lacroix was heard all over Paris and news of his newly formed company spread quickly.
On July 26th of the same year, Christian Lacroix unveiled his first haute couture collection for the fall-winter 1987 season. This was an extremely bold move that took into account the economic situation in the world at the time. In 1987, he staged his first New York fashion show in the winter garden of the World Financial Center, which took place literally a week after the market crash.
The styles of the Lacroix house
Lacroix’s first collection was colorful, bright and happy. The collection paid homage to the couturier’s roots as most designs were steeped in Mediterranean influences. Christian Lacroix has taken up the themes and designs of traditional Arlesian outfits again and was inspired by the toreador’s cape. In a time of predominant simplicity, Christian Lacroix chose to demonstrate elegant, yet ornate exuberance.
In 1989, followed by a men’s collection and a boutique, he introduced seven lines of accessories and 10 years later he created a line of jewelry.
Often described as bold and lavish combinations – inspired by the innovative movements and influences that have shaped the art world – Christian Lacroix chose brooches, earrings, necklaces, or bracelets as a means of conveying his design ideals. From incorporating the avant-garde movement into his work to paying homage to the elegant and fragile Lady Diana Cooper, Lacroix’s jewelry can always be described as exciting.
The media used by Christian Lacroix are the most luxurious material for unexpected techniques. For example, gold and silver are used in a patchwork-like pattern, and rubies are strewn across the work. His pieces are also known to incorporate elements of folklore and history through unusual shapes and interesting colors.
Lacroix says his fashion icon is the Queen of England. One of the reasons for this is their choice of colors. Lacroix once designed the uniforms for Air France staff and crew, and pajamas signed by him are also distributed to passengers traveling on Air France First Class (L’Espace Premier).
Christian Lacroix today
In 2009, immediately after another market crash, Christian Lacroix gave up his position as artistic director of the house. Sacha Walckhoff, who had been with the house since 1992, was then appointed Creative Director and continued the transformation of the house together with President Nicolas Topiol. Together they expanded the company’s creative focus on decoration and lifestyle collections. The Christian Lacroix House celebrates its 33th anniversary this year.