Christian Lacroix: Dancing on the Lip of the Volcano

Christian Lacroix came onto the fashion scene like a thunderbolt in the ’80s. Tim Blanks looks back on Lacroix’s Fall 1992 collection, which proved that elegance and the French coquette were still very much alive.

Released on 1/29/2015

Credits

Starring: Tim Blanks

Music:
"#1 In Heaven," by MNDR

Transcript

00:00
I'm not sure that the answer
00:02
against the economic crisis is a long, black dress.
00:08
♫ Oh, you better step away
00:11
♫ Number one in heaven with the bullet
00:15
♫ I'll go for you when I can
00:17
♫ Tell them I'm smiling
00:20
♫ Oh, won't you
00:21
Welcome back to Throwback Thursdays.
00:23
I'm Tim Blanks, and today we're looking at a collection
00:25
by Christian Lacroix from fall 1992.
00:30
(guitar music)
00:38
I think that luxury belongs to the human being.
00:43
It's part of human being because it's the idea
00:46
of being different.
00:48
Equal, but different.
00:50
[Tim] Lacroix's own tweediness
00:52
contrasted with the unapologetic
00:54
richness of the clothes he designed
00:56
always made for a wonderful contrast.
00:58
Look at the embroidery, the embellishment
01:00
he puts on these clothes.
01:01
I'm trying to create a couture ready to wear for nowadays,
01:07
not with garden patterns, and the little hat,
01:10
and the little bag.
01:11
I adore this, but it has to evolve.
01:14
Life means evolution.
01:18
Lacroix arrived like a thunderbolt
01:20
in the middle of the 80s when he took over at Jean Patou
01:23
and launched the pouf skirt.
01:25
Very short, very bubbly skirt,
01:27
which seemed to perfectly epitomize the mood of the moment,
01:30
which was very effervescent, bubbly, extravagant.
01:34
Lacroix became totally identified with this mood in fashion.
01:38
When the crash came at the end of the 80s,
01:41
New York Magazine did a very memorable cover story
01:44
devoted to his launch in New York,
01:46
called Dancing on the Lip of the Volcano.
01:49
I think that's such a wonderful magazine title.
01:51
I can apply it to almost anything.
01:54
Especially in France, each time the period disturb,
01:57
fashion is extravagant.
01:59
During the French Revolution, fashion was wonderful.
02:02
During the last World War, during the German occupation,
02:06
even poor girl, my mother told me that they were trying
02:11
to have hat, jewels made with paper, with nothing,
02:16
just to prove that French elegance,
02:19
French coquette was still alive.
02:21
(people chatting)
02:23
[Male] And then when you're finished with Beverly,
02:25
you go straight to your (mumbles).
02:26
Lacroix, with his very typical empathy,
02:29
always provided one of the most amazing backstage spreads,
02:33
which made his shows even more eagerly anticipated
02:35
by the likes of me.
02:37
One of the many reasons to adore Christian Lacroix
02:40
is the very civilized atmosphere he insists on backstage.
02:45
He was just such fun, and the shows more than anything,
02:48
always carried across that incredible sense of fun.
02:52
(jazz music)
02:58
Underneath all the exuberance,
02:59
there'd be this really poignant recognition
03:01
that all of this would pass.
03:03
That beauty cannot last, which is why you would pack
03:06
as much as you could into one moment,
03:08
into one collection, into one show,
03:12
which is why Dancing on the Lip of the Volcano
03:13
was such a perfect title for a story about him.
03:16
And indeed it didn't last.
03:17
His company was sold on, and sold on,
03:20
and he I think, became enormously disillusioned
03:25
but if the story has a happy ending
03:27
it was that he found other things that satisfied his need
03:30
to make beautiful things, and make beautiful things
03:32
in a setting where they weren't being judged
03:34
by their commercial applicability.
03:40
But I really, really miss those Lacroix shows.
03:42
Yes, they were visions of a world that scarcely related
03:46
to what was happening in the real world,
03:48
but you need people like Lacroix
03:50
to take you out of yourself,
03:51
to make you see things in another way.
03:54
I'm sure that the first man on Earth
03:56
tried to kill or to keep these bird because of its feathers,
04:01
to put his feathers, I don't know where, (laughs)
04:05
or to give some fur to the girl he was in love with
04:09
because fashion is seduction, too.
04:11
(energetic music)
04:13
I say, lots more Lacroix.
04:15
What do you say?
04:16
Leave us a comment.
04:17
This has been Throwback Thursdays, and I'm Tim Blanks.
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