Here’s an example of how rich people who buy couture clothes are: A client of Christian Lacroix’s offered to rescue his label, which recently filed for bankruptcy. Lacroix turned down the offer. He is owed $1.7 million and has been designing for free for months. And he’s not the only one owed money. The factory that makes his clothes hasn’t been paid either, nor have the workers it employs. Because of this, Lacroix’s critically praised fall 2009 collection will probably not get produced.
Lacroix continues to design his couture collection, though he’s not sure if or how he’ll show it. (He’s hoping for a presentation of some kind.) He says he’s designing for the seamstresses in his atelier. “They deserve it, even if we can’t show it,” he told WWD. “I can’t stand having them do nothing during this period because they have it in their blood. January and July, it’s couture. It’s a physical clock.” Still, he has no budget for outside suppliers like embroiderers.
Couture is the essence of the Lacroix label. Though the designer noted strained relationships with the label’s owners, he heralded management’s decision to cut the lower-priced Bazar and Christian Lacroix Jeans lines. However, he blames recent the 35 percent drop in sales on cheap materials bought to try to cut costs. “If you decide to do something in the deluxe field, you have to go all the way,” he said. “Even the best factory can’t make beautiful clothes with cut-rate fabrics.”
When the courts finish cleaning everything up, Lacroix said the label could just become a licensing operation with no couture. No couture! So the spring 2009 collection pictured here could have been his last. Why didn’t he take that lady’s check again?