Has a see-now-buy now collection that seamlessly combines haute couture with a contemporary It-Brit brand just reinvented the way we ‘do fashion’ today? Rixo may just be four years old, but it has already won the hearts – and the wardrobes – of editors and influencers with its easy silhouettes and breezy prints, all with a cheeky nod to vintage nostalgia.
However, for London Fashion Week, co-founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey pulled off a coup that would be considered a formidable feat, even for far more established names. The designer duo debuted a limited-edition Rixo x House of Christian Lacroix capsule, but in a conversation with Grazia, they admit how the collection may not have happened.
Henrietta reveals, “An email came into our inbox from their team saying that they loved Rixo and felt it really resonated with House of Christian Lacroix, and they invited us to meet with them.We thought it was a scam – we just didn’t believe it was real, as Christian Lacroix is a brand we have always loved.”
Luckily for all concerned, it wasn’t a hoax. “After we met with the team, they let us explore their Haute Couture archives in Paris – it was honestly a dream come true. We were complete magpies!” Orlagh adds, “Henrietta and I are both obsessed with vintage from the ’80s, especially Christian Lacroix. On our vintage hunting trips in Paris, the best pieces we’d find and love the most would always be Lacroix, so when they approached us to work together it was a complete no-brainer!” The result? An exuberant fashtravaganza in a joyful symphony of prints with strong-shouldered ’80s sensibilities.
Henrietta explains, “For the collaboration, we both loved the idea of merging the inspirations from some of their amazing haute couture pieces and prints and creating something brand new, contemporary and wearable for the today’s woman and lifestyle. The collection is a combination of inspiration from Christian Lacroix’s iconic couture designs, with their prints re-engineered from a Rixo point of view, and on our own Rixo shapes. For the prints, we mixed in new Rixo references, as well as playing with varying scales and mixing prints together to create the final designs. We’re so proud of what we’ve created together.” Each of the pieces in the limited-edition collection is one of a maximum of 50 available worldwide.
Orlagh continues, “Christian Lacroix’s brand DNA represents a completely empowered woman. Like Lacroix, we want our customers to feel empowered when they wear Rixo. We want our pieces to be flattering and to make women feel like the very best versions of themselves when they put them on. Fit is so key for this and is something that we’ve done a lot of work on – I am obsessed with it,” she confesses.
“The Christian Lacroix brand has its own unique heritage showing that exuberant colour and print can result in completely timeless design, which makes them still so relevant today. Like Lacroix, prints are a key part of our collections, and to ensure that they remain timeless we don’t follow trends when designing, as well as looking at how the piece will actually fit into our customers’ lifestyle. We don’t just design a piece for the sake of it – we consider who might wear the style, as well as when, where and how they would wear it. Fabrics are also high-quality, so they can truly stand the test of time. Like Lacroix’s creations, we want our pieces to be really special and enduring – we want our customers to invest in pieces, really love them and still be able to wear them in ten years.”
Christian Lacroix AW90
History lesson: Christian Lacroix sold his fashion house to LVMH in 1987, which then sold it to its current owners, the Falic family, in 2005. Monsieur Lacroix himself exited the brand in 2009, and the House of Christian Lacroix is now helmed by Creative Director Sacha Walckhoff. And this is the second time Orla and Henrietta have looked to Paris for inspo for their London-based label. In May 2019, the designers tapped up style muse Sabina Socol for a Jane Birkin-meets-Cher Horowitz fashion mash-up (fash-up?) of ’90s slip dresses and Animalier-inspired prints served with a side of insouciance.
Henrietta observes, “The beauty of not having investors and being female founders is that we can follow our instincts – when we’re passionate about something and know in our gut it’s right, we jump in head first and go straight to work. It’s been the biggest pinch-me moment of Rixo so far.” We’ll take one of everything, please.
Photos: Guy Marineau and supplied