2008 January 23

Christian Lacroix - Paris Couture Spring 2008

Christian Lacroix Couture Spring 2008 Christian Lacroix Couture Spring 2008
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(PARIS) Watching a Christian Lacroix show is in many ways like being a kid in a candy store. Devouring every single bit is always an immediate reaction, and his couture show Tuesday, an utter delight in an otherwise run-of-the-mill week, was sweet enough to warrant a visit to the dentist. “Angel Passing By” was what the designer titled his glamour show at the Pompidou, chock full of sugar-coated and happy--not to mention Colorful! Colorful! Colorful!--fabrics, details, and silhouettes amassed from two years researching his own archives in preparation for his current exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

By no means were these designs child’s play, however. They were a highly complex fusion of precise placement of pattern, print, and power, well researched and respectful of the history Lacroix commands. “It’s French but seen through fifties American movies,” he explained. Pinks and plaids collided with chiffons and encrusted lace, the results of which were like a smooth and satisfying daiquiri straight out of the blender. Empire waists were of the highest pursuit, and the joie de vivre was deafening.

Nearly every single element of this Patou-inspired show was perfect. The crinoline skirts that ballooned ever just so? Check. The utterly gorgeous canary yellow taffeta coat with cornflower blue trim? Check. And how about the crystal-encrusted tulle bands in the models’ hair? You got it. Check.

As always, a brilliant sense of coloring evolved, from the corals and powder blues to the parrot green and fuchsia sprinkled liberally throughout lace, brocade, silks, and tulle. All the body shapes were there, from the ultra tall and lanky coat and long floor-dusting skirt to the out-of-control voluminous gowns and blousons--many of which featured a recurring black ribbon swimming about. Like at Dior, there was as much to see in the front as there was in the back; that, in its own right, is a marvel of achievement.

Some will be quick to point out that Lacroix’s show wasn’t groundbreaking in originality. But what counts, and what keeps his clients coming back for more, is the skill of hand and the sheer feeling of pomp and circumstance he generates through his clothes. Forget whispering; these clothes were meant for shouting from the highest hilltops.

In a way, it was the ultimate in sensory overload.