Christian Lacroix for Schiaparelli.
There are already a few alarms ringing in my head. I see this collaboration as a symbolic gesture more than anything else, a nod to French fashion and therefore to French culture as a whole. Christian Lacroix is a creative genius and his vibrant baroque-inspired designs are just as captivating today as they were in the 90s (the perfect antidote to minimalism), but his company, which LVMH helped set up, never turned a profit in its 22 years of operation. Moreover, he’s designing haute couture which is notoriously unprofitable. This collaboration probably won’t be lucrative (but it will get a lot of press), and if we also remember that the house of Schiaparelli has lain dormant since 1954 then it’s hard to imagine that this re-launch will be commercially viable in the long term.
I also remember some discussion regarding the name. ‘Schiaparelli’ is a very mellifluous word and looks beautiful in print, but it’s also one of those names that could be quite problematic in a modern commercial setting. It’s not easy to pronounce, least of all for rich Asian clients, and I think the owner considered changing it to simply ‘Schiap’ at one point. That’s what the founder’s friends nicknamed her. If Christian Lacroix ever accepts a permanent role at the house, he won’t be able to call it ‘Schiap (let’s pretend) by Christian Lacroix’ because he hasn’t been authorized to use his own name since the company was reduced to a licensing operation. This was the case when he designed a small collection for the Spanish brand Desigual in 2011 and had to use “Monsieur C. Lacroix” for legal purposes.