Thursday, May 30, 2024

Go Inside SCAD Lacoste’s Christian Lacroix Exhibition

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Courtesy of SCAD

Lacroix discussed his career in costume design and his long-term relationship with Comédie-Française in a conversation with SCAD FASH creative director Rafael Gomes and fashion curator and historian Olivier Saillard.

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Courtesy of SCAD

Forty costumes from Comédie-Française’s 2012 production of Peer Gynt were selected. Lacroix chose Peer Gynt over the many other productions he’d worked on. “It’s a production and collaboration with Comédie-Française that he is understandably very proud of, from its inception to the actual creation of the costumes,” explains Gomes. Lacroix has also designed costumes for American Ballet Theater and the Metropolitan Opera.

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Courtesy of SCAD

“The crux of this exhibition is the marriage of Christian Lacroix’s couture legacy with his passion for the theatre. These costumes exemplify his level of mastery through unimaginable attention to detail,” says Gomes. “[They] have the same technique and skill level as those shown on the runway, manifesting in these layered, textural pieces that emphasize Peer Gynt’s fantasy world. Whether the costumes are lavishly embellished or aged and dyed, Lacroix achieves this in a realistic, well-done way.”

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Courtesy of SCAD

Being able to show the costumes just as they appeared on the stage was “a pretty rare occurrence in the world of costume design, as costumes are generally absorbed into other productions or taken apart and reimagined,” Gomes says. It was a priority of the Comédie-Française that the ensembles remained complete so that they could be used in future productions.

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Courtesy of SCAD

The show also includes nearly 60 of Lacroix’s initial sketches. “It’s such a well-rounded presentation to see the conception of these garments reflected alongside the actual physical interpretation,” Gomes says.

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Courtesy of SCAD

There is typically much more body diversity in theater and in high-end fashion, which is seen in the size of dress forms and mannequins. Costume designers adapt traditional mannequins by padding or cutting them to make them fit the bodies of the actors.

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Courtesy of SCAD

A critical way that an exhibition of costume design differs from simply looking at fashion is that the mannequins need to be staged in vibrant poses to convey the energy of the characters. Gomes created a whole booklet focusing on hand placement alone.

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Courtesy of SCAD

Peer Gynt travels from his home in Norway to North Africa over the course of the show, giving Lacroix the ability to create costumes across a vast range of styles.

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