Christian Lacroix's true love debuts in Asia exhibit

Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:43am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - His pouf skirts and fanciful designs have made him a fashion icon, but Christian Lacroix's true love is the arts, with a collection of ballet, opera and theater costumes debuting in Singapore this week.

"Christian Lacroix the costumier" is the first overseas trip for a major collection of costumes and sketches by the French designer, whose work spans two decades and over 25 productions including the operas "Carmen" and "Cosi fan tutte" as well as Shakespeare's "Othello."

"Drawing for dance or for theater allows me to breathe," Lacroix is quoted as saying in one of the exhibition panels at the National Museum of Singapore, which showcases 80 spectacular costumes and 60 illustrations from the designer's own collection and France's Center National du Costume de Scene (CNCS).

Delphine Pinasa, deputy director of the CNCS in Moulins, said the exhibit offers viewers the chance to appreciate Lacroix's signature extravagance in a different light.

"Christian Lacroix often said that if fashion for him was not such a success, he would have done costumes and stage design full-time," she said.

"Even as a child, his mother would take him to the opera and the theater or the ballet, and he would come home and redesign the costumes he saw on stage."

Fittingly displayed in a setting inspired by the experimental "black box" theater, with faint red lighting, the costumes are a feast of colors and textures, ranging from gorgeous 18th century-style gowns made from rich velvets, delicate lace and twinned with modern cropped jackets to outfits made from embroidered paper and textile scraps.