Paris fashion fights for Lacroix

Tue Jul 7, 2009 6:44pm EDT
 
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By Sophie Hardach

PARIS (Reuters) - Christian Lacroix staged what could be his last haute couture show in Paris on Tuesday, displaying a stripped-down, mostly black collection put together with the help of friends and artisans who worked for free.

Since the loss-making fashion house was placed under creditor protection more than a month ago, the small community of couturiers, clients and artisans has been abuzz with talk of what this means for the world's most exclusive fashion scene.

While Giorgio Armani and Chanel defied the tense mood with glittery opulence, Lacroix was forced to economize on fabrics and materials, putting all his couture skills into creating the reduced collection.

"It was like a firework even if it was black," model and muse Ines de la Fressange said after the show just next to the Louvre, surrounded by fashionistas wearing badges saying "Christian Lacroix forever."

Like many industry insiders, she worried about the effect of Lacroix' woes on the "petites mains" -- the dying breed of artisans whose skills make Parisian high fashion special.

"It's fine for Lacroix, it's his talent and he's going to keep it ... it's a pity for all the people who've been working for him, especially people doing embroidery, feathers. In Paris, they still exist," she told reporters.

"NATIONAL TREASURE"

Lacroix, who invented the puffball skirt and is known for his colorful frivolity, placed an untimely bet on high-end ready-to-wear and was hit hard by a sharp drop in U.S. sales.   Continued...