This season, Monsieur Christian Lacroix and Ibiza-born, Barcelona-based brand Desigual are celebrating their collaboration by reissuing Exceptionnel designed by Monsieur Christian Lacroix’s ten most iconic and kaleidoscopic dresses since the launch of the collection in 2011. And according to Monsieur Lacroix himself, a high-street collaboration wasn’t as farfetched as some may think. “Even in 1987, when we started the House of Lacroix,” he recalls, “what I had in mind was to create for both sides of fashion: on one hand for the most elaborate haute couture, and on the other for street with Bazar de Christian Lacroix and Christian Lacroix jeans. However, at that time it was too early – when you worked for luxe you couldn’t work for mainstream.” Forever ahead of his time, Monsieur Christian Lacroix talks luxury, legacy and logomania with Grazia.
What qualities do feel you and Desigual share?
I need alchemy and chemistry to consider a collaboration. And even before meeting the team, I noticed Desigual clothes in the street and felt a synergy through patchworks, colours, its print extravaganza. We work like a couple; each keeping our own deep roots and style. Finding a way of cultivating the areas we have in common, and making the best for speaking the language of its partner. And I think we found a common ground that’s relevant and coherent; with all those ingredients came joyful patterns of daring artworks that stay true to the brand’s roots but in an extraordinary way. I love that Desigual is always rethinking its spirit and soul – its way of following or, even better, preceding the time we live in, keeping a balance in between innovation and what the customer wants and needs.
How does the process of designing an haute couture collection differ from designing a capsule collection for Desigual?
Handmade one-of-a-kind gowns, and mass products are two completely different ends of the scale, but the spirit, inspiration, excitement is the same. I love the idea of rich couture clients being patrons for craftsmanship and helping preserve a precious, rare savoir-faire, and I also love the idea of providing interesting clothes for women that make them feel special.
Your haute couture focuses on fantasy, whereas your collection for Desigual seeks to make the everyday exceptional. Have you had to adapt to designing for different women and style scenarios?
No, I trust my inspiration and style. I joined Instagram a few months ago and I discovered how deeply known and loved my work is, above all among the youngest generations who weren’t even born in the ’80s. This touched and moved, reassured and encouraged me. Up until then, I wasn’t conscious of how widely my style was appreciated and recognised by the next generation – be it through old couture pictures or the ready-to-wear jeans or the Bazar line and jewels or even hotel decoration and stage design. And this unique spirit and design can be expressed both at Desigual and in my own projects.
You never explored the logo with your own maison – why did you feel that now was the right time to explore it in this collection?
I must say that it was Thomas [Meyer, founder and CEO of Desigual]’s idea to try logo artwork. This is something that I did a long time ago for menswear, leather goods but most often as a lining. I love Desigual, since nothing is ever taken too seriously but in a tongue-in-cheek, fun way. I was born in 1951 and I loved being a teenager in the late ’60s and early ’70s. They were fun, so crazy, so optimistic, so extravagant, freeminded, daring and experimental times. In a word, so Desigual. I love the idea of the meaning of the brand [‘unequal’ in Spanish]. It’s the opposite of everything I hate: classic, equal, balanced, sad. We all have a special attachment to the ages of 15 to 25 – this is why I love fluoro colours, flowers, hippy chic, as well as mixing and matching bohemian pieces.
Your work is an interplay of history and inspiration from global cultures. How does that come through in this collection?
A part of this universal inspiration belongs to Desigual too. Mixing and matching East and West, high and low, modern street art with old masters, historic
sources with the present moment.