Thursday, July 09, 2009

Collector's Collection.

Lacroix working on his latest couture collection.

I can see it now: A tawny cultural institution, who benefited greatly from the government's infusion of funds into public works and culture, hosts a survey of how the credit crunch, the housing crunch, and bubble bursting of the first decade of the 2000s impacted the fashion of the times. In its look back, prime positioning will be given to pieces from Christian Lacroix's most recent couture show.

A simply beautiful gown.

Staged amidst the uncertainty of the future of the house, the show was a mere glimmer of Mr. Lacroix's usual style. His signature favoring of colorful fabric collages, of intricate, bold, and delicate details, of volume and brocade and crystals gave way to the restrained, deft precision of expert tailoring in midnight hues.

It was a definite break in Lacroix's tradition, but it showed the designer's dedication to, and love of his craft. The garments were indeed constructed and finished as a labor of love, with seamstresses and assistants donating their time and skills for free. The clothing's restraint led to such an unusual sight-- the visual communication of sadness and mourning and honor through couture. But, this was no theatrical display, no over the top prop-festooned, dramatic interpretation of those emotions; it was plain, simple, honest and true. It was a tribute to the art of making clothing. Lacroix could have scrapped his plans, could have said no to showing at all, if his true vision could not have been realized to its fullest. But, instead Lacroix and his talented team got to work. He made clothes, he stitched and sewed and cut and draped, just like a designer who must design because he's a designer and that is what he does.

I can't stop thinking of how timely and poignantly the collection came across. It is a time capsule, a communication of how the fashion world is not immune to the workings (and failings) of the world at large. It may seem to occupy its own sphere, but really fashion is a business, one full of people who want to believe they can create the rules and the game. But, when you strip away the pomp and the circumstance, the fashion world is an arena of artists. The true artists in fashion will humble themselves to their craft. That's what Lacroix did, he humbled himself to his craft. He left his ego out of this collection, showing the world that without the bombastic embellishments, his clothes still speak volumes because he is a designer with talent. That talent is not for final sale. He will always have it. It's his own, and it leaves me with no worries that Lacroix will find a way to surface again. He will find his way to crystals and lace and color explosions again. It's inevitable. Til then, his honorable collection will be sought after by any true fan of the saga of fashion, any collector of couture.

Images: Getty via

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