The iconic French fashion designer, whose body of work includes handbags and purses, evening dresses, jackets and lots more, has always favored theater over fashion. He has long integrated corsets and bustles into his work, drawing on diverse cultures and citing epic historical dramas as inspirations. Today he is creating opera costumes, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his colorful and voluminous garments captured the excesses and defined the extravagant frivolity of the 1980s as well as the sensuality and boldness of the 1990s.
Lacroix studied art history at the University of Montpellier and museum studies at École du Louvre and the Sorbonne in Paris. He aspired to become a museum curator or costume designer but instead entered the world of fashion, specifically haute couture, with the support of his now-wife Françoise Rosenthiel, who helped get his sketches to Hermès. Lacroix was offered an assistant job at the legendary luxury brand and later worked as a designer at the House of Patou in 1981.
Lacroix’s career flourished and his profile soared from then on, as he established his own label in 1987, using layers of fabric and consistently clashing prints in his designs for opulent pouf skirts, vibrant floral maxi day dresses as well as jewelry and watches that commanded attention. He created a ready-to-wear line for Italian manufacturer Genny and dressed dancers at the American Ballet Theatre company.
Lacroix became the artistic director of Italian fashion house Emilio Pucci in 2002, and, over time, he continued to secure work in the fields of theater, opera and other performance art, designing costumes for a range of stage productions. Alongside designs by Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld and others, Madonna wore a corset during her 2004 “Re-Invention World Tour” that was created for her by Lacroix.
Today, the maison founded by the designer in 1987 is owned by the Falic Fashion Group, but Lacroix continues to design womenswear for brands such as Desigual as well as for the stage. His larger-than-life aesthetic has also been translated into a range of accessories and fragrances as well as various interior furnishings such as tableware and household linens. Lacroix has completed interior design projects at a number of hotels and has partnered with the likes of Christofle and other firms over the years. In whatever form it takes, the sumptuousness and glamour of a Lacroix design is unmistakable.
Find a range of vintage Christian Lacroix clothing, jewelry and accessories on 1stDibs.