Lacroix and Chanel bring out the haute couture

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Some of the haute couture shows in Paris have generated star wattage; all have undoubtedly inspired applause. But yesterday’s Christian Lacroix show triggered tears.

Jenny Barchfield of the Associated Press reports that there were a few weepy moments at what might be Lacroix’s last haute couture show -- ‘at least for as long as it takes the legendary French designer to sort out his finances.’ Lacroix started insolvency proceedings in May and ‘looks likely to close its doors at the end of this month.’


It somehow seems appropriate, then, that his winter 2010 collection was done in shades of black and navy. Barchfield writes that the ‘collection had a funeral feeling, and the crowd of well-heeled women wiping their eyes after the display only added to the dark mood.’

Lacroix told his audience that he hopes to relaunch the haute couture line. In the meantime, he sent models down the runway with ‘supple draping, black lace, tone-on-tone embroidery and luscious beadwork.’ The bridal gown ‘which traditionally closes haute couture displays,’ Barchfield wrote, ‘was a Catholic icon ... the sumptuous dress underscored Lacroix’s rare genius.’

In the meantime, Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel ‘served up an haute couture collection fit for royalty ... with dangling trains adding a regal touch to everything from classic tweed skirt suits to slim cocktail dresses.’ And designer Eric Tibusch ‘delivered collections of wildly inventive pieces made from countless hours of hand labor.’ Tibusch, Barchfield writes, ‘paid homage to Michael Jackson with a collection of elaborate body suits worn over leggings, a la King of Pop from his ‘Dangerous’ days. A leather jacket crisscrossed with zippers recalls the late artist’s wardrobe from the ‘Bad’ album cover.’

(Thank goodness. We were concerned that the Jackson phenomenon was simply not getting enough ink.)

--Alice Short


Pictures: Fall-Winter 2009/2010 Paris couture shows.


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Photos, from top: Lacroix; Tibusch; Chanel. Credits, from top: European Pressphoto Agency; Thibault Camus / Associated Press; Francois Guillot / AFP/Getty Images