Christian Lacroix. Evening Gown. c. 1990

Christian Lacroix. Evening gown. c. 1990. Image Collection: Drexel Digital Museum. Object Collection: Mari Shaw.

This evening gown from the Fall/Winter 1998 collection of Christian Lacroix was lent to the Drexel Digital Museum to include in the fashion image archive by Philadelphia collector Mari Shaw.

It is constructed from silk plain weave, printed with an abstract motif in the bright, deep colors of the local costumes of Lacoix’s native Arles, France; and embellished with diamanté and insets of handkerchief edged silk chiffon. Ruffles of pleated silk organza in a neutral bird feather print and also finished with a handkerchief edge, accentuate the asymmetrical draping of the gown. Ruching, controlled by internal drawstrings and ties, creates volume and a slight pouf, a nod to ‘le pouf’ silhouette Lacroix popularized in his collection for Patou in 1986. Decorative boning on the front of the bodice reflects Lacroix’s early education as a costume historian and his sartorial reinterpretation of historic corsets.

Christian Lacroix unveiled his first Haute Couture collection for Autumn-Winter 1987. It was a departure from the minimalistic look of the influential Japanese designers en vogue at that time. Lacroix designed pieces that combined unusual materials and colors, adorning looks with luxurious baroque touches. His designs included touches of folklore, history and theatre, infusing them with elegance and sophistication. He left his position as the House’s Artistic Director in late 2009 to concentrate on a variety of projects in interior and lifestyle design, and film and theatrical costume design. House of Lacroix continues today with a focus on decoration and lifestyle collections.