I feel that in my over-excitement, I may not have done justice to the genius of the Christian Lacroix exhibition in yesterday's post. You must understand that I've been longing to visit an exhibition featuring the work of an inspirational fashion designer like Lacroix for ages.
I admit that the only features of Lacroix's designs I knew prior to this was 'polka-dots and ruffles'. It is obvious from the exhibition that Lacroix is so much more than that. He is a designer who pays great attention to the fabrics he uses. Indeed, a dazzling array of exquisite materials such as lace, satin, velvet and taffeta are present in the costumes, mixed in novel ways. In fact, I noticed that a Christian Lacroix costume often looks very 'rich', because varied materials are layered to produce depth, character and detail. He is just as fearless when it comes to playing with colour. The way he puts colours and textures together looks so instinctual, even whimsical. No other designer can do it with the flair of Lacroix.
What I found very interesting also is the way he manipulates and transforms found or used fabric. He is quoted in the handbook as saying:
"Personally, I also work a lot with old costumes picked up in flea markets or in archives, that I dissect and recycle (an 1890s visiting dress can become a 17th century farthingale). Then follows the magnificent work of distressing, dyeing and stencilling that give more or less contemporary fabrics a soul, a past, a depth and unity. Nylon can be made to look magical, or plastic a baroque damask; conversely, the most precious 18th century furnishing fabric can be turned into rags."
"I like this idea, which I also use in fashion design, of the thing that is digested again, of clothing that is re-thought and given a second life."
He is certainly a visionary who is able to see the potential of clothing or fabric. The quotes also explain very well why his designs (not just for the theatre, but his couture and ready-to-wear ones too) often incorporate historical elements but with a modern twist.
I walked away with the overwhelming sense that he has great fun with what he does. Perhaps that is the essence of his success.
9 hours ago