As Christian Lacroix prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, it isn’t the clothing of this pedigree couture label that is catching everyone’s attention but the brand’s incredible range of lifestyle pieces. From cushions to tableware, fabrics to stationery, Christian Lacroix is bringing its distinct style of luxury to chic homes across the world.
The flamboyant lifestyle looks have been developed under the creative direction of Sacha Walckhoff. The French designer worked in various Paris fashion houses with creatives such as Jean Rémy Daumas, Dorothée Bis and Michel Klein before becoming studio director at Christian Lacroix in 1996. After the departure of Christian Lacroix himself, Walckhoff took the helm of the fashion house in 2010. Since then the Lacroix aesthetic has embraced all aspects of lifestyle and accessories, bringing new levels of luxury to everyday objects.
‘Since I took over the creative direction for the Christian Lacroix Maison brand in 2010, I have been working on the brand’s DNA in order to keep the spirit, but with a totally new iconographic proposal,’ says Walckhoff. ‘We work a lot on developing new images and new trends based on huge research in all kinds of directions.’
With Christian Lacroix’s couture and prêt-à-porter womenswear collections on hold since the eponymous founder’s departure, Walckhoff has overseen the design of the menswear ready-to-wear collections as well as the Christian Lacroix fashion accessories lines.
However, it’s the focus on homeware and lifestyle that has really pushed the brand forward, with Christian Lacroix Maison producing fabric, soft furnishings, wallpaper, tableware, stationery and candles. One of the most recent projects has been a collaboration with Dutch company Moooi, with which Walckhoff has created a range of carpets.
The lifestyle collections have begun a new era for Christian Lacroix, yet behind this Walckhoff has retained a consistent approach to design. ‘The principles are the same, but the products are different,’ he says. ‘My work for Lacroix is to keep the style alive and appealing, to find new ways to express the personality of the brand; it is not about old or new, it is more about keeping the house of Lacroix fresh and modern.’
Walckhoff’s ability to take the brand’s baroque, flamboyant and colourful aesthetic and apply to it to lifestyle products is perfectly illustrated in the most recent Christian Lacroix Maison homeware collection, Art de Vivre. Celebrating French joie de vivre with dazzling colours and striking prints, it perfectly matches the brand’s signature bold style.
Designs for the collection were inspired by the ‘Incroyables et Merveilleuses’ of the French Revolution ‒ the Unbelievables and the Marvellous Ones who wore bold colours representing their convictions. The range introduces new striped and floral prints, available as fabrics and also used in furniture upholstery and on soft furnishings as well as wallpaper. Motifs incorporate rosettes sported by soldiers in the Revolution, intricate bouquets paying homage to 18th-century gardens and monochrome stripes, a symbol of liberty and freedom during the Revolutionary period.
‘I am fortunate enough to work for a brand which values tolerance, variety, liberty and fantasy,’ says Walckhoff. These values are clearly evident in the brand’s collaboration with porcelain specialist Vista Alegre, with whom it will launch two collections this year. The first, Madones, is a range of three porcelain trays, each decorated with silhouettes inspired by some of the house’s famed couture designs. The second, Love Who You Want, is a collection of plates and pillboxes featuring animal motifs, including the Monseigneur Bull, an aristocratic bull adorned with flowers and lace, and the Jungle King, a lion crowned with shimmering feathers and lace.
Keeping the heritage alive
With homeware collaborations like these drawing on the brand’s couture accomplishments, it’s clear that Walckhoff still pays homage to the creations of his predecessor and former mentor. But he struggles to pin down what he would consider to be the definitive piece of Lacroix design. ‘It is a tough question,’ he muses, ‘as during all those years, many wonders have been created by the house of Lacroix.
‘In couture, our most definitive piece was the model 39, a red embroidered wedding gown made out a torero cape that Madonna wore during her Reinvention tour, a piece from the Haute Couture autumn/winter 2002/2003 collection. In our lifestyle collections our Butterfly Parade pattern, which we’ve used across rugs, fabric, wallpaper and tableware, created in 2012, has been copied worldwide and is still a bestseller today.’
The success of these new avenues for Lacroix is testament to the brand’s enduring appeal, and with its creative vision continuing to extend into every corner of life, we can all look forward to having a slice of the luxury Lacroix lifestyle.