August 23 2014

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46 posts tagged "Christian Lacroix"

A Paris Veteran Pops Back Up


You may not know Emmanuel Aubry’s name, but you’ve definitely seen his work. Throughout the eighties, the French jeweler was the hand behind Thierry Mugler’s outrageous accessories, like metal stilettos, gloves, and corsets. “Back then, fashion was a business, but it was just so much fun,” he recalls. “We were serious about what we did, but we never took ourselves too seriously. Things have changed since then.” His follow-up gig was a complete about-face, creating costume jewelry for Christian Lacroix. When the house shuttered, Aubry put himself on hiatus. His baubles, however, had other plans; the designer’s one-off accessories cropped up on the runway at Bouchra Jarrar and Alexandre Vauthier.

Earlier this year, Aubry resolved it was time for a comeback and launched A Fine Jewel, a streamlined collection of limited-edition jewelry. “My idea was to return to luxury in its original sense: something that’s finely made, discreet, and personal, something that you don’t see everywhere.” That might be a delicate gold chain with asymmetrical knots, a new twist on diamond studs, or the 38-carat cushion-cut smoked quartz necklace that’s already been snapped up by several style-setting Parisiennes (he also does private commissions, giving new life to heirlooms or creating one-offs). Aubrey usually works by appointment-only, but, just in time for the holidays, the designer is showcasing his wares in a pop-up shop in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. His price tags are less shocking then those in Place Vendôme (where he’s also done time), but luxury doesn’t come cheap. Rings run around $500, while more lavish pieces go up to $2,900.

Emmanuel Aubry’s pop-up is located at 9 Victor Hugo in the 16th arr., open Tuesday-Saturday afternoons through December 24.

Photo: Courtesy of Emmanuel Aubry

Two Centuries Of Fashion History, Starring Tilda Swinton


Christian Lacroix, Haider Ackermann, Martine Sitbon, Bruno Frisoni. They all gathered at the Palais de Tokyo last night for a one-of-a-kind, one-woman fashion show: The Impossible Wardrobe, conceived and curated by the Musée Galliera’s Olivier Saillard and starring none other than Tilda Swinton. The performance lasted nearly 40 minutes, or about four times the normal length of a fashion show. No one minded. On the contrary, the crowd gave the duo a standing ovation.

Wearing white gloves, a lab coat, and beige suede pumps, Swinton variously carried, clutched, and presented vintage clothes and accessories up and down the runway, making eye contact with the audience along the way and pausing in front of a mirror to measure up how she might look if she was allowed to put them on. “It’s not possible to wear the clothes in a museum,” Saillard said, by way of explaining the show’s concept and name. “If Tilda hadn’t accepted our proposal, we wouldn’t have done it.” Above Swinton, a news ticker spelled put the pieces’ provenance, and there were some truly special items here: a 1968 Paco Rabanne dress worn by Brigitte Bardot, Elsa Schiaparelli-designed gloves with built-in gold talons from 1936, an embroidered top that belonged to Isadora Duncan in the 1920s, even a tailcoat covered in gold bullion worn by Napoleon. The Oscar winner actually sniffed the collar on that one, as if to get a sense of his essence. “C’est sublime,” said Bouchra Jarrar afterward. “A new way to talk about the history of fashion. One must never forget history.” In the history of this season, this will rank as one of its most fabulous moments.

CLICK HERE for a slideshow of Swinton wearing some of the pieces from the Musée Galliera collection >

Photo: Piero Biasion

Lacroix’s Ballet Costumes Get Their Own Exhibition, Mary Katrantzou’s Typewriter Dress, And More…


Christian Lacroix is the latest designer to be honored with a museum exhibit. His Swarovski-decorated designs for La Source, a 2011 production of a nineteenth-century ballet, will be showcased at the National Costume Museum in Moulins, France. [WWD]

Mary Katrantzou is known for her hyper-realistic digital prints, but a typewriter collector in Switzerland thought one of the designer’s Fall 2012 dresses (pictured) was a bit too literal in inspiration. Adwoa Bagalini, who runs the blog Retro Tech Geneva, wrote Katrantzou a friendly letter pointing out the similarities to her typewriter photo. The designer admitted the correlation and sent Bagalini her own typewriter dress. [Racked]

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who were appointed as creative directors of Superga in September 2011, are set to unveil their latest capsule shoe collection for the label later this month at Harvey Nichols. They have also revealed that they will be doing a Superga range under their label The Row. [Vogue U.K.]

The latest industry rumor isn’t about a Dior appointment—but rather, the house’s former designer John Galliano. Hint reports that Galliano may be heading to Schiaparelli. With the Costume Institute’s upcoming exhibit Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion, it would be a timely comeback for the Italian house. [Hint]

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

A “New Couture” Approach, From A Designer Perched Between Ready-To-Wear And Haute


Before striking out on her own, Bouchra Jarrar was behind the scenes for the rise of Balenciaga’s ready-to-wear as well as the twilight of Christian Lacroix’s couture. When she launched her own label in 2009, she opted to show her collections during Paris’ Haute Couture week, in testament to the couture-style approach she favors. But she’s always been part of the ready-to-wear world, too: Her line is stocked at enviable retailers like Ikram, Jeffrey, Bergdorf Goodman, and Kirna Zabête. Now, thanks to that growing international presence—and one very visible credit, on the cover of French Elle—Jarrar is keeping her slot on the couture calendar, but adding a version of her namesake show to the RTW week, too, with a handful of new pieces and a bag thrown in for good measure. checked in with Jarrar at her new atelier and boutique to discuss the old and the new, what she learned under Nicolas Ghesquière, and the eternal allure of the little black dress.

Tell me about seeing your dress on the cover of Elle. Was it a defining moment for you?
I did not know that was going to happen. At all. It was a tremendous moment for me. I felt it was real encouragement. Fashion is hard work. Creation doesn’t just fall from the sky. And it was really powerful to see the magazine place a bet on the future. But it’s not like you’ve arrived; the bar is constantly placed higher, and you have to reach it. Anyway, we got a lot of calls about that dress. Funnily enough, we did not sell any in Paris—we sold a lot in the U.S.

Will it become a recurring piece in your collections?
Yes, but in any case I don’t kill off my collections. We’re a small house, so we leave the door open in case a client wants it. For us, this “new couture” approach is very of the moment.

That’s interesting. So many designers today are going the opposite direction, promoting branding and mass distribution—more, more, more. You’re harkening back to an older model.
I feel at home with the notion of being a fifties-style couturier, who likes to work with the fabric and sew in general, enjoys the process of thinking through “one fashion.” We function like a couture house; half of what I do is artisanal and that implies lots of time. In that sense I feel like I am swimming against the current. But that’s also reassuring because I feel like I am working with profound respect for women. It’s not about power, prestige, or money. The idea of taking a magnificent name, filling it with fast fashion, and calling it luxury says nothing to me. Personally, my definition of success centers on the human aspect. Continue Reading “A “New Couture” Approach, From A Designer Perched Between Ready-To-Wear And Haute” »

Lacroix, A Stranger In A Strange Land


Christian Lacroix has famously stepped away from the catwalk, and to hear the master couturier tell it, he feels far away from the world of fashion—”a stranger in a strange land,” as he says. But that doesn’t mean he’s been sitting idle. Au contraire, the designer is busier than ever. This week, the fruits of his latest collaboration with Paris’ Opéra Garnier, a series of Swarovski-studded costumes for the nineteenth-century ballet La Source, hit the stage of the Opéra de Paris. (Swarovski donated two million crystals to the project, few if any of which, it seems, went to waste.) Above and below, Lacroix shares a few exclusive costume sketches. checked in with the designer to find out the impact trends have on what he is doing now (none), the freedom of the stage, and the various other projects he has up his sleeve.

How do you feel about the ballet, and what were your inspirations for La Source?
I feel quite happy about La Source, and of course it’s such a privilege to work with the Opéra Garnier—this is our fifth collaboration. They have wonderful workrooms, and incredibly skilled artisans who are always in a good mood. They’ve become friends. That said, it was a quite a challenge to make a forgotten piece into something new that was faithful to classicism and yet modern, which would fit with the unique talents of the Opéra de Paris dance corps and still speak to today’s audience. I was inspired by Eric Ruff’s poetic set, and of course Jean-Guillaume Bart’s strong yet subtle choreography. Fortunately, the ballet seems to be a hit. And I find that the music sticks in my mind.

What are the similarities and—more importantly—the differences in designing for the ballet and Couture?
A costume is made to be seen from afar; it has to “speak,” to convey a character from the moment the performer steps onto the stage. An haute couture piece is particularly beautiful when it’s right under your nose.

The distance between the stage and the audience is also magnified by light and the illusion of spectacle. You can improvise by using humble materials, which you can then patina, trim, and paint, forcing your point so that from a distance they appear sumptuous. In couture, you cannot use anything but the highest quality fabrics, embroideries, and other elements.

But the process is the same—for me in any case. I considered my couture clients heroines of their own lives, and I tried to create second skins for them that were in harmony with their bodies, their character, their lifestyle—exactly as for an actor, a prima ballerina, or an opera star. My fashions were theatrical, operatic, spectacular, and very akin to stage life. Trends of the moment are of scant importance to stage creations.

Much of the original 1866 ballet was lost in a fire: What sources did you have to draw on, and how much sprang from your imagination?
The Opéra’s library still has some set designs and costume sketches from that time, but I preferred not to look at them until the end, taking cues instead from Bart and the dramatist Clément Hervieu-Léger, whose color notions were very precise, plus the music and set design. I had only to illustrate their ideas: My aim was to create timeless costumes that were situated somewhere in between “period” and the imagination. I wanted touches of the Ballets Russes and modernized nineteenth century, with a dash of ethnic detail.

What other projects do you have coming up?
I am going to keep designing costumes in 2012, for productions of Don Pasquale, for Adrienne Lecouvreur at the Frankfurt Opera, for Peer Gynt at the Comédie Française, for Salomé at the Opéra de Saint-Gall, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme in Paris, a staging of Madame Butterfly in Hamburg, then Radamisto at the Viennese Opera in January 2013. I am also working on a hotel in Bangkok with Sofitel, and continuing my collaboration with the Monnaie de Paris, notably with a Kings of France-themed coin collection. And I am also finishing lines 3 and 4 of the Tramway in Montpellier, which will be operational next April.

What’s your view on fashion now, given the dramatic events of the past year or so?
Answering that would take hour upon hour and page after page. I do feel far away from that planet now, as if I were a stranger in a strange land!

Illustrations: Christian Lacroix