This week, a French court approved a restructuring plan for bankrupt label Christian Lacroix that will reduce the house to a licensing operation. Only about a dozen of the roughly 100 employees will keep their jobs. The label's problems culminated with the parties that expressed interest in buying the label but failed to produce financial guarantees in time to rescue it. But where did they begin? Experts say Lacroix focused too much on haute couture collections. Successful labels use couture nowadays as marketing efforts. No label sells enough couture clothes to justify it. But buzz surrounding couture shows can be harnessed to sell things the general public can afford, such as handbags, scarves, fragrances, etc.
Lacroix co-founder Jean-Jacques Picart, who is now a consultant to places like LVMH, notes, "Even if in 2009 Lacroix sold around 70 bridal dresses — an enormous number for couture — at an average of 35,000 euros a throw, it is obvious that it is not enough to run a couture house."
An outdated concept? Not at all, [Erwan Rambourg, a financial analyst on luxury goods at HSBC,] believes. "In the same way that high tech businesses invest in research and development without any likelihood of instant returns for their money, luxury houses invest in haute couture to nourish creativity. You have to think in terms of adding value, rather than making a profit."
Lacroix was notoriously insistent on maintaining its high-end approach to clothing. Under LVMH's ownership, Lacroix made lower-priced Canal and Jeans lines. When the Falic group bought the label in 2005, they were quick to do away with those. Lacroix was happy because he didn't want to be bothered with the more affordable things. But still, where were the Lacroix sunglasses? Perfumes? "It" bags? Sales of items like those account for the bulk of profits for luxury labels. Lacroix's C'est La Vie fragrance never even took off.
"Who can still remember Thierry Mugler? No consumer today knows the label, only the perfumes," Rambourg commented of the French designer who found himself in a similar fix.
We can remember Thierry Mugler pretty easily, and it's not because of his fragrances, it's because of Beyoncé, who had him design the costumes for her world tour. Fragrances are powerful profit drivers, but Rambourg shouldn't forget fashion's other highly potent force: divas. Look at Lady Gaga. You can't go two feet in this industry without hearing about how she was a waitress this one time or likes hats, or how maybe her heels didn't have enough traction in Montreal, which is why she fell on her ass onstage there. She's in Vogue, she was the first non-model to wear Alexander McQueen's spring 2010 Alien shoes, and she was the highlight of New York Fashion Week and plenty of other things. And she used to wear pretty bad latex skirts.
Though Gaga eschews labels onstage for works curated by her own Haus, Beyoncé's Mugler affections made the designer so much more relevant. And now there's talk of reviving the Mugler ready-to-wear label, which would be amazing.
There is a diva out there for Lacroix to dress. Gaga, Beyoncé, Britney, Ciara, and even Lily Allen may be attached to certain designers already, but we're pretty sure Keri Hilson isn't! And she had that one song that became catchy after we listened to it twenty times this summer.
Where Lacroix went wrong [Telegraph UK]
Most Viewed Stories
Bernie Sanders Wore the Only Appropriate Outfit to Trump’s Inauguration
Kellyanne Conway Goes With a Subtle Look for the Inauguration
This Conspiracy Theory Will Change How You Feel About the Bachelor Villain
Here’s the Official List of Speakers for the Women’s March on Washington
15 Protest Sign Ideas for the Women’s March on Washington
The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for the Women’s March
Michelle Obama’s Face Perfectly Sums Up How You’re Feeling Today
Thousands of Women Are Descending Upon Washington D.C. for the Women’s March
The Complicated, Controversial, Historic, Inspiring Women’s March
Melania Trump Wears Ralph Lauren on Inauguration Day
From Our Partners
Who What Wear
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.