Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty
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Fashion, particularly haute couture, hasn't been the same since Christian Lacroix closed his house as we knew it. Lacroix was my favourite couturier, his over-the-top, opulent way of arranging colour, texture and print an aesthetic I had to grow into, and when I did there was no one else who brought such joy.
So when I heard that Lacroix had collaborated with Camilla Morton on a fashion fairytale that she rewrote and he illustrated, I made a noise that drew all of the neighbourhood stray dogs to my front door. Lacroix's first love, and as he seems to indicate in interviews on subject, his one true love, fashion illustration (that's right!?) could soon be heavy in my own two hands.
I ordered Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty straight away - you can check Amazon.com coupons for deals before going to the site - and was supremely excited to read it to my daughter, it's 'our' special book. (I love that at five years-old she can pronounce 'Lacroix' perfectly. That is very important, you know.)
It's an extraordinary book; Morton retells the fairytale classic as delicious fashion fiction - though firmly rooted in the bitchy reality of the industry, particularly that of fashion editors - working Lacroix in as a central character alongside Beauty, a fantastical biography of sorts. I was going to describe my favourite details but that would spoil it - if you haven't yet read it I wouldn't want to steal those sweet moments of discovery away from you.
The next in the Camilla Morton fashion fairytale series - thank you for these, Ms. Morton! - is Manolo Blahnik and the Tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker, available in November. And apparently there are more in the works, though I have to say I feel satiated with the first in the series!
I admit I was taken aback by the dark, sometimes grotesque (see below) drawings that make up some of the pictures. I guess I expected 100% beauty from Lacroix, all colour and whimsical loveliness, but he is a true illustrator, portraying the ugly parts of the story as they really are. There is nothing beautiful about a woman so tragically self-obsessed that she sentences a baby to die on her 16th birthday - all because a party began on time despite her lateness! Still, in true Lacroix form, the details are exquisite.
Like Lacroix haute couture, the pages are a glorious mix of things - contrasting fonts and colours playing with the electric illustrations.