Long live the Couture King

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It was one of the most poignant and emotionally fraught haute couture shows ever: a collection produced on a shoestring at the last minute, and only made possible by the collective will and donated time and skills of the seamstresses, embroiderers, jewelers, milliners, and shoemakers loyal to Christian Lacroix. As the whole world knows, his future is in limbo after his former owners put the Lacroix business into administration and laid off all but 12 workers—an unclear and messy situation that leaves one of the greatest creators of the genre out on his own. Only the models were paid—50 euros each, according to French law — but they too ended up in tears. "I didn't want to cry," said Lacroix, amid a standing ovation and a tumult of support from clients.

"I want to continue, maybe in a different way, with a small atelier. What I really care about is the women who do this work."

Pictures by Pierre Verdy.