Thursday, January 29, 2009

Christian LaCroix Haute Couture S/S 09 Paris

From Christian LaCroix Haute Couture S/S 09 Paris

As Christian Lacroix made his customary run down the catwalk, being pelted with carnations (one always thoughtfully left on each seat, just for this very purpose), there was a huge smile on his face.

“More clients;” he beamed backstage, “I’ve just met another new one.”

It is easy to understand why women, of any age, want to buy into the Lacroix look, if they can afford it. His designs are never radical or extraordinarily referenced or require a manual in order to understand how to wear them. His collections are always beautiful, mixing deliciously feminine and romantic looks, with the nonchalant chic of masculine tailoring.

He opened with a short-sleeved, navy, military jacket, gilt-buttoned and braided, worn with loose, navy gaberdine trousers; then a black, cardigan-style corset, with little bloomers, overlaid with embroidered tulle. A navy crepe skirt suit featured a dandified, black, embroidered bow at the neck and was finished with a ruffled, beige blouse. A series of softly-tailored bright red suits were encrusted with black embroidery, matador-style; a classic Little Black Dress worn with an intricate cream lace bolero. More short, sharp military ‘spencers’, detailed with embroidery and gilt buttons, were paired with frou-frou skirts in black and white stripes, generally with a hint of lace petticoat – a favourite Lacroix combination.

The contrast between borrow-from-the-boys and unashamedly girlish was echoed in the red carpet designs. A navy and white, crisp, tailored shirt, for example, was knotted at the waist with a red rose and then paired with an extravagant, long, crinoline skirt in emerald green and navy.

Evening always opens the doors to a blaze of rich colour and ornamentation at Lacroix. A rainbow-striped, organza and chiffon gown featured sleeves worked in a magic carpet pattern, another rainbow-hued design, underscored the one-shoulder trend, as did a gold lame sheath, which featured a giant bow on the left shoulder, and was then draped and curved around the body to finish in a fishtail hem.

A short ball-dress showed Lacroix’s love of the colours of Watteau and Fragonard, featuring a one-shouldered bustier, embellished with silk roses, elaborately embroidered in gold and pastels, and allied to the designer’s invention, a doll-like puffball skirt in rose-pink taffeta.

-Hilary Alexander

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