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Thursday, 4 June 2009

Lacroix Files for Bankruptcy

It's not exactly a secret that the world of luxury goods has been taking a bit of a hit recently. What with all the doom and gloom on global markets and the catastrophes still circulating their way through the world's credit systems, it seems that the high life has lost a few of its friends, and that some of its lifetime members are taking time to pause and reflect on their spending. There have been several casualties as a result of the trend, from dimmed-down atmospheres at fashion shows and special events to the closure of specialty stores such as Tiffany's Iridese pearl outlet. But news this week of the insolvency of the French fashion house of Christian Lacroix seems especially somber, and may shake up the world of haute couture as few had imagined was possible.

For over twenty years, Lacroix has turned out catwalk masterpieces that have been continually hailed by critics as some of the most insightful and engaging clothes in modern fashion. The designer is a fashion lover's idol; after spending much of his youth studying and sketching out the flamboyant designs of centuries past, Lacroix pursued his passion academically, working at such venerated institutions as the Sorbonne and Paris' Louvre Museum. After breaking into the designing scene with help from fellow French luxury house Hermes, Lacroix began churning out his rich, luxurious pieces, often recalling the aristocratic garments of the past updated for the modern audience, and always with a deep understanding of and appreciation for color.

Lacroix may be best known for his gowns, but the designer is certainly no stranger to jewelry. He began offering a jewellery line in 1989 and quickly captivated the hearts of fashionable women everywhere with designs that translated his penchant for decadent yet unique clothes into metal, gems, and other materials. Over the years, his jewellery collections have unabashedly embraced the tenets of costume jewelry pieces, incorporating ample sizes, interesting and often funky shapes, and lots of visual interest. From earrings exploding with carmine red stones and gold plate to oversized pendants brimming with baby blue crystals, Lacroix's jewelry made its wearer look --and feel-- like a queen.

Christian Lacroix earrings

Of course, while Lacroix may have put together an admirable jewellery line, the essential spirit of his designs lives on in costume jewelry around the world, ever able to adapt to new circumstances, whether it's a hot trend or a financial cool-down. Nevertheless, it will be sad to see the designer go, if indeed it sinks under the weight of its financial problems. Employing 125 workers, the fashion house has a rising pool of debt, and the designer himself claims he is owed nearly two million dollars in salary, but has been working without payment in a bid to save his firm. As the fashion media awaits the outcome of Lacroix's bankruptcy proceedings, fans of the designer are undoubtedly preparing their mourning.

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