Instead, he began designing-, first for Hermes (1978), then Guy Paulin (1980) and Patou (1981) before being offered the keys to his own couture house by Bernard Arnault of LVMH in 1987. Lacroix’s inspiration was as broad as Arnault’s plans for the label: Cecil Beaton’s Ascot Scene in ‘My Fair Lady’; Oliver Messel’s neo-Rococo interiors; Velasquez Infantas; Lautrec soubrettes; Provencal gypsies and his dynamic wife Francoise.
Christian Lacroix ready-to-wear followed the couture in 1998 and diffusion line Bazar arrived in 1994. Lacroix’s sensibility translates superbly to theatre, opera and ballet. He designed landmark productions of ‘Les Enfants du Paradis’, ‘La Gaiete Parisienne’ and ‘Sheherazade’ as well as the jewelled corsets worn by Madonna for her 2004 Reinvention Tour.
In 2002, Lacroix was appointed creative director of Florentine print house Pucci, and in 2005 a new chapter began for the designer when his fashion house was sold by LVMH to an American company, the Falic Group.