03 December 2009

update: the fall of high fashion?

03 December 2009
french courts signed off on a restructuring plan this week that will force bankrupt couture house christian lacroix to retire the needle and thread. operations will be scaled down to focus solely on licensing deals and staff will be cut from 100+ employees down to a dozen.

experts argue lacroix's downfall was failing to secure licensing deals for accessories and perfumes and not focusing on ready-to-wear collections. labels can offset the high cost of producing couture through the sale of more affordable items like shoes and handbags.

couture is seen as a necessary indulgence: it allows a designer room for creativity, growth, and inspiration and more practically, it can attract attention to shows where more affordable items that will sell well are featured.

couture, literally "high sewing," is an art form. a very expensive art form. each garment is meticulously hand-made to order. lacroix's couture tunnel vision was his fatal mistake. the return on investment is very low and labels must supplement with garments and accessories the general public can afford to survive.

photo: getty images

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