July 07, 2003 Paris
In the Lacroix theater of fashion, suspension of disbelief is essential. Swingy cape-coats come with huge, foldover, lopsided collars, in madly dyed fur, with massive sleeves and maybe something painted, ruched, and knotted going on somewhere. One sleeve of a jacket can be in one shape and fabric, with embroidery and trimmings, while the other can be in something else entirely. Spanish influences can get mixed up with negligees and patched into echoes of Edwardiana. And who says you can’t wear pink, grass green, and blue, in a mélange of textures and surface effects, all in the same outfit?
The saving grace of this busy, multihued eclecticism is that Lacroix has it all so well under control. These days, he will slip his sensory-overload glamour coats over the tiniest flesh-tinted chiffon dresses, showing lots of leg. His lace gowns and Edwardian bustled silhouettes are supple and allow a modern sense of nakedness beneath. The matador jackets and corsetry that have always been his passion reappear now, looking less like operetta costume and more in line with the trends of the season. After 20 years, Christian Lacroix has perfected what he does. It’s a singular vision that makes a spectacular contribution to the vitality of haute couture.