Christian Lacroix was born in 1951 Arles, France. He was the adored son of a family of engineers. His father and grandmother were very fashion minded. From 1970 to 1972 he studied art at the Paul Valery University, in Montpelier followed by the Sorbonne in Paris. He was interested in the cinema and now has total recall of films and cine-dress, as well as fashion crazes of the time. In 1972, he enrolled for History of Art, at the Sorbonne University, Paris.
After graduation, during the 70's, he worked as a free-lance shoe designer, an accessory designer for Hermes, and as a design assistant for Guy Paulin.
In 1974 he married Francoise Rosenthiel.
In 1981 he joined Jean Patou through Jean de Mouy. Patou was a dusty name at that time, and he completely revamped the company, tripling the sales.
In 1986 Lacroix was awarded the "De d'or" (golden thimble) for his couture collection by the Paris couture authorities. In 1987 he received the Oscar for the Best Foreign Designer from the Council of Fashion Designers, of America.
In 1987 Lacroix left Patou, and started his own salon. He presented his first collection, sponsored by the Agache Co . Ltd. This was the first new Haute Couture Salon to be opened in Paris in two decades.
Throughout the late 80's Lacroix took inspiration from the exuberant brushwork and modernistic colour of artists, to design the clothes for his collections.
In 1988 he was awarded his second Golden Thimble.
In 1989 he launched his first Pre-a-Porter collection. In 1990 Christian Lacroix launched his perfume "C'est La Vie" at a gala launching party. 1989-1990 Lacroix introduced his "Luxe" line. From 1990 onwards Lacroix introduced a complete range of accessories, including footwear, eyewear, hats, handbags, jewellery, scarves, and belts.
He takes inspiration from the Orient, Medieval tunics and gowns, Military uniforms of the Napoleonic period as well as costumes from Outer Mongolian peasants.
In 1995 Lacroix opened his new BAZAR line of youthful, funky casual wear. This was a great success. In the same year, he introduced his home furnishings and household articles line.
During the Paris Fashion Week in October 2002, Christian Lacroix invited his friends to an intimate dinner, instead of a show. He showed pieces from his signature jeans and Bazaar lines and some vintage couture gowns. Everything shown proved that Lacroix is a versatile modern master. Christian Lacroix has had a very successful year. He received the coveted Legion d'Honneur. He was commissioned by Air France to redesign their uniforms, and is probably going to create the new decor the high-speed train the TGV.
Lacroix also showed his first collection for the wonderful Italian house of Pucci, to great success. It has been announced that after Christian Lacroix completes his Spring/Summer 2006 collection for the Italian house of Pucci, the design will be taken over by Matthew Williamson from the Autumn/Winter 2006 collection.
Lacroix has a great many other products, which he offers along with his haute couture designs. These include hats, eyewear, scarves, belts, footwear, embroidered legwear, handbags, jewellery, and many others.
Christian Lacroix has been chosen by the French National Railway to recreate the interiors of 183 cars of the High Speed trains. They are bursting with colour, the seats are cherry red, apple green and dove grey. The rich palette and designs give a haute couture finish to the train. The Lacroix Lingerie line is soon to appear for Spring/Summer 2004. In April 2003, he signed a 5 year agreement with Societe Internationale de Lingerie.
Air France staff received their new uniforms in Spring 2005, designed by Christian Lacroix. They were so elegant, that they captured the attention of the fashion world, particularly Colette, Paris' Saint-Honore windows displayed the outfits for two weeks. Matching dolls, pins and candles were also available. Air France has 36,000 employees and the new set consisted of interchangeable accessories from a navy blue dress cinched in at the waist with a dashing red bow, to a slim pair of pants matched with a sophisticated long jacket, as well as a sky-blue organza scarf.
Christian's activities also include interior decoration for TGV and Petit Moulin, the boutique in Paris' popular Marais district. He is interested in acting on the entire environment, the urban landscape and daily life for everyone, to beautify the world, starting with Paris.
Christian Lacroix is one of the most influential and colourful couturiers in the world, who is known as the "man with the magic paintbrush" because of his ability to mix astounding colours together. He likes to use very bright colour combinations. His palette includes such colours as Magenta, Bright Pinks, Orange, Yellow, Reds, Blues and Greens, all sometimes in one outfit. His designs are easily recognizable because of their colourful nature. In this he was influenced by the sun of his native Province. His silhouette is mainly used by trapezium and pyramid shapes, and thus the ultimate garment turns out to be long, loose and breezy. The look is predominately layered. He uses a lot of flowers to accentuate necklines, or hats, he uses ruffles, frills, and laces. He feels that embroidery is an integral part of couture, and he uses it lavishly. His embroidered patterns often imitate historic Spanish costume. He often incorporates gems into his embroideries, which are mostly made by renowned embroiderer francois Lesage. Furthermore he likes to use wool, mohair knit, leather, tweed, cottons, velvets, tartans, tapestry, crepe, satins, lame and printed fabrics. He accompanies his designs, with such accessories as chunky jewellery, felt and leopard skin hats, patchwork capes, hoods, embroidered berets, fringed or striped scarves, studded or fringed belts, embroidered gloves, long necklaces, orange or gold boots, bejewelled crosses either hanging or incorporated into the embroidery design. His bright palette and extravagant use of colour and fabric, have changed the otherwise rather darker, duller fashion trends of the time. He provided a cheery alternative to the sedate somber elegant creations of other couturiers. Christian Lacroix showed that he too can be high-tech, getting his inspiration from computer-generated geometrics for prints in the Spring 2001 collection. He even created the client look list pixel by pixel, literally, using a computer.
Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow