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Bidding Adieu: Christian Lacroix Haute Couture

December 5, 2009

For twenty years, Christian Lacroix produced extravagant couture gowns but the bleak announcement of his company’s bankruptcy in 2008 foreshadowed the inevitable: Lacroix’s sovereignty in the haute couture dynasty was over.

Haute couture started in the early nineteenth century as handmade, garment construction for the well-heeled. Today, couture is to Paris what leather is to Italy and as magnificent as it is, the overhead costs far exceed the profits – making it more of a pain than a joy, for the fashion conglomerates.

A few months ago, New York Magazine published an article about the financial ruin of the Lacroix brand. Despite the adversity, Lacroix was hopeful that he’d find investors in enough time to salvage his company from the tight grip of Florida-based firm, Falic Group.

Unfortunately, those potential investors missed the deadline set by French courts and last week the announcement came.

Christian Lacroix will function in a licensing capacity where perfumes, handbags and accessories will be produced to offset the company’s debt.

Additionally, Christian Lacroix will close his haute couture and womenswear divisions, terminating 100 employees. Many of these men and women have been with him since he started designing in the 1980s.

In WWD, Lacroix stated, “This is the most awful decision possible and I’m speechless with anger. I’ll do my best to find a way of battling. But it seems no one is interested in the future of Lacroix in such a cynical world where the word ‘fashion’ doesn’t have the same meaning as mine.”

Perhaps this cautionary tale will serve as an omen to all designers. Talent aside, you are only as good as your bottom line.

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