Designer Spotlight: Christian Lacroix

French designer Christian Lacroix is a true maximalist who layers ruffles, prints, trim and bursts of joyous color into truly fabulous (AbFab, you might say) looks. I never realized how great Christian Lacroix was until looking him up just now - what's amazing is his 2000s-era collections are just as great as his debut in the 80's. Unlike a lot of designers, who simply adapt to the fashion world's whims, there is a consistency to his vision.

In 1991's Backlash, Susan Faludi notes that Lacroix started pushing pouf skirts and corset tops just as the woman's power suit became ubiquitous, arguing that it was a backlash against a rising tide of feminism. And Lacroix's true haute couture is more like wearable art than wearable clothes - the company never actually turned a profit, which isn't surprising, given the mind-blowing construction and intensive, highly-skilled work that must have gone into these garments.

But I feel like the goals of my (intersectional, which Faludi is not really credited for being) feminist dreamworld just involves people of all genders having the opportunity to look this epically colorful, glamorous and joyful.

 Am incredible dandy/clown ensemble from 1989

Am incredible dandy/clown ensemble from 1989

 A 1980s runway look

A 1980s runway look

 1996 and 1997

1996 and 1997

 2008

2008

 New romance/the pirate look done right from 1987

New romance/the pirate look done right from 1987

 Casual vacation look from 1992. Love the haughty stance!

Casual vacation look from 1992. Love the haughty stance!

 The colors! from 1999

The colors! from 1999

Insane Ruffles That Actually Work!

I thought it would be interesting, after Mary's post about fugly ass sweatshirts, to find an example of an item of clothing with diagonal ruffles that actually is awesome. I mean, that poor model in the grey sweatshirt Mary posted looks like she's been lassoed by an errant scrunchie that fell from the ponytail of a giant jazzercise monster.

In any event, behold: The "Ziggy Stardust" dress by Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell, a swinging London husband and wife fashion and textile designer team:

I mean, either lean in to the flounces or GTFO, man. Don't slap one line of ruffles on a GREY SWEATSHIRT and call it "fashion". That's just some lazy crap. Also, flouncing around in these flowy silk chiffon gowns would be a lot of fun.

More on Clark & Birdwell in the future - the clothes they made together in the late 60s/early 70s are some of my favorites. But for now, just enjoy the embarrassment of ruffles.

Really Uncute Tops (actually, sweatshirts)

 "It's all here at my fingertips!" i think as I venture into the world of online shopping, looking for something like a t-shirt, or blouse that doesn't have pirate sleeves or SLEEP BRUNCH REPEAT written on the front in size-100 font.

Three hours later, my hands hurt and I'm angry. "No wonder retail is suffering," I might think, as I scroll past the 100th identical off-the-shoulder top, which isn't even the cute trashy kind, but the kind that looks like a preppy lampshade, or another pair of jeans where it looks like the hem was eaten off by animals.

At a time when people's day-to-day clothing is, IMO, more boring than ever, it seems like the fashion industry is desperately trying to innovate by adding ruffles, weird sleeves (and I like weird sleeves, I swear), corset belts and other random details in endless quest for novelty, even though it seems like all people are even (sadly) wearing is gray t-shirts with mom jeans or workout wear.  I guess it's all just part of an endless quest for growth that will only cease when the capitalist state finally implodes, after the sweatshirt has become so deconstructed, many theorists begin to wonder if it can even be called a sweatshirt anymore.

Or whatever! Here are some strange interpretations of the humble (and very Bay Area-friendly) classic, the sweatshirt.

 

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I like ruffles too, because they are over-the-top and Rococo and Lacroix and shit, but these ruffles are really odd and not the fun bouncy kind. They're more just like random strips of crinkled fabric. And I guess they're not supposed to be fun because they're worn with some drab army pants. Sad.

 

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Speaking of sad, I never imagined that the sullen kids who wore Slipknot t-shirts and giant pants in high school would become the height of fashion, but look at this really long sweatshirt that costs $750 from "streetwear" label Vetements. 

For a similar vibe, pick from a wide selection of similar men's XXXXL sweatshirt from the thrift store.

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This one looks like something Phoebe would have worn on Friends with, like, a long pastel skirt. And those long droopy sleeves! You can't cook soup wearing this, but you could walk through a thorn bush without compromising the look.

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If this was fitted, I would say it was pretty cute, because I'm down for a Princess-seamed sweatshirt. But the whole point of those curved seams is to follow the curves of the body, so the oversized version just ends up awkwardly standing away from the body like a tent? And those huge pants? Oy. We'll be discussing those soon enough.

 

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OMG. This is like the worst of middle/high school in the year 2000, but also with a creepy message that seems like it's from a dystopian sci-fi movie? Back in the day, everyone thought people in the future would be wearing silver boots and streamlined unisex tunics, but imagine a future where dead-eyed armies of people are wearing this sweatshirt, which costs $555 and was Made in Japan? Terrifying!