French fashion designer Christian Lacroix was born on May 16, 1951. From the beginning of his career, he was interested in fashion from a historical perspective. Lacroix was taking courses at the Louvre in order to become a museum curator. His dissertation was on fashion in the 18th century.
When he launched his haute couture line in 1987, historical references were an important part of his inspiration: crinolines, corsets, and décolletage. This led to the criticism that his fashions did not relate well to women who actually had jobs. Lacroix’s most identifiable creation was the “pouf” skirt that still seems to appear at prom time each year. His work was also notable for his use of brilliant color and often folkloric details and fabric. The designer’s haute couture line never turned a profit – the losses in 2008 alone totaled 10 million Euros – and was placed in receivership in 2009. But Lacroix also pursued many ready-to-wear lines in areas as diverse as men’s fragrances and towels. You can see his work worn by the Air France flight attendants in the uniforms he designed in 2004. In fact, if you fly first class, Air France will even give you Lacroix-designed pajamas. His haute couture line may not have been a financial success, but his first-class creativity is flying high.
Today’s expression, ne pas passer inaperçu (nuh pah passay in-ap-er-sue) means “to not pass unnoticed.” Lacroix once said, “For me, elegance is not to pass unnoticed but to get to the very soul of what one is.” Anyone wearing an haute couture garment from Christian Lacroix would definitely not pass unnoticed.