An article in the Wall Street Journal takes a gloomy look at the spiraling down of the Christian Lacroix brand. Despite the known qualities of the vision of the couturier, the problem has always remained that unlike Christian Dior who consciously defined haute couture as part art, part commercialism, Lacroix stuck too much to an artistic conception of high fashion. That and other reasons...
What the article stresses is that the launch of C'est La Vie in 1988 which was a flop marked the beginning of the end for the couturier. It is hard to judge the importance of that factor. What we learn is that Lacroix did not have his way with the design of the bottle and found it "disgusting". Apparently he is still sensitive to the trashing he got in the press because of that bottle design. It seems a bit blown out of proportion but it is true that the Lacroix perfumes never succeeded in being as cool as the Yves Saint Laurent ones, say, also a newcomer to the world of fashion who was luckier in that he got the unwavering support of business man and life partner Pierre Bergé. As for C'est La Vie, I just remember how, without thinking of a human heart and finding the bottle "disgusting", I felt uninspired by the color of the brown glass which looked a lot like that of cheap glassware favored by retirees with staid tastes.
It looked old and my first souvenir of it is from a perfumery in Les Halles which displayed the new perfume in a static, unexciting manner. Although new, the perfume already felt out of fashion due to that ghastly banal brown color. It even succeeded in making the name of the perfume sound like a middle-age crisis instead of coming across as whimsical. After that I suppose the beating in the press did not get loud enough to call attention to the controversy.
Picture from mes-parfums.com
"In 1987 the first Christian Lacroix couture show, which featured bubble dresses and bright colors inspired by his native southern France, received raves. "He brought a bit of sunshine to the Parisian catwalk," says Olivier Saillard, a fashion historian and curator at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. But the brand lacked world-wide recognition, and a global perfume launch in 1988 was a flop.
The perfume debacle set the tone for the next decade. Mr. Lacroix had wanted the perfume bottle to be in the shape of a flat stone with a branch of coral; the end result was a bottle shaped like a heart with what looked like an artery sticking out of the top. "It was disgusting," says Mr. Lacroix. "The newspapers wrote that I was a maniac and sadist."
Quote from The Fall of Christian Lacroix...
I would like to add that the article does not do justice to the last collection by Christian Lacroix which took people's breath away.