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2009 May 28

Christian Lacroix Files for Bankruptcy

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Christian Lacroix at the end of his Spring 2009 Haute Couture show in Paris on January 27 Christian Lacroix at the end of his Spring 2009 Haute Couture show in Paris on January 27
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(NEW YORK)  Christian Lacroix has filed for court protection from creditors, equivalent to a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the U.S. The company, a former LVMH brand founded in 1987 by Lacroix and Bernard Arnault, was sold in 2005 to the Florida-based Falic Group, owners of duty free chain Duty Free Americas. "We think it's very well positioned,” chairman Simon Falic told WWD at the time of the acquisition. “So much money has been invested in this brand, and Mr Lacroix is such a highly-regarded talent in the fashion industry. I honestly believe we can double the sales volume in five years, maybe sooner."

Lacroix’s reputation as one of Paris' most relevant couturiers led the company to focus directly on the luxury market, a move that offers little for customers looking increasingly towards bridge collections. “Since the acquisition of Christian Lacroix SNC, we have been committed to the brand and to its high-end development,” said Lacroix CEO Nicolas Topiol in a statement released today. “We will continue to do so but the sharp downturn of the luxury market has significantly hurt our revenues.”

The company has pledged to continue producing both couture and ready-to-wear collections, even promising to show a small couture collection during July’s couture season, but the future of the Lacroix is in limbo. Ready-to-wear sales for the Fall 2009 season were down 35 percent, with 2008 losses of $14 million on overall revenues of approximately $42 million. Plans to strengthen the company by way of financial partners and investors have been put on hold. Topiol’s statement continued, “this process, which was in its final phase, was directly hit by the conditions of the financial markets and could not be finalized prior to the filing.”

In addition to Christian Lacroix’s fashion business, the brand has branched out into other projects, from decor for the French TGV to hotel interiors and uniforms for Air France. It is unknown whether the company will continue to participate in these other projects.
EMILY GYBEN

 




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