Christian Lacroix

Christian Lacroix at SCAD FASH, Lacoste, Provence

Anyone in search of a little cultural interlude away from the beaches of the south of France will find the perfect oasis in the Provencal village of Lacoste. This tiny medieval burg (population 426) is perched at 320 metres altitude, overlooking rolling fields of sunflowers and Provence’s blue gold, lavender. 

Lacoste’s idyllic setting and unique golden light has attracted artists that include Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso. A famous resident was the Marquis de Sade, whose Chateau Lacoste is the landmark at the pinnacle of the village. The Marquis’ chateau was acquired by a more recent Lacoste resident, fashion designer Pierre Cardin. It is now open to the public. 

Today, thirty of Lacoste’s buildings form the campus of SCAD-FASH, the single international outpost of the Savannah College of Art and Design. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, SCAD-FASH is inaugurating its new museum space this summer with Christian Lacroix Habille Peer Gynt pour la Comédie-Française (Christian Lacroix Costumes Peer Gynt for the Comédie-Française).

The Arles-born Lacroix, himself a Provencal native, was fascinated by theater since childhood. He studied Art History in Montpellier before enrolling at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he wrote his final dissertation on the subject of French 18th century dress in art. 

His haute couture costumier collaboration with the Comédie- Française began over 25 years ago with the company’s production of Phèdre, followed by Cyrano, Lucrèce, Roméo et Juliette, and the 2012 Peer Gynt. 

Curated by fashion historian and curator Olivier Saillard, and organized by Rafael Gomes, creative director of SCAD FASH museums, in collaboration with the Comédie-Française, the exhibition features 50 spectacular costumes for Ibsen’s fantastical Peer Gynt cast of characters, from the titular misadventurer to brides, Scandinavian villagers, a troll princess and her father, and a tribe of Bedouins. 

The characters are brought to life with Lacroix’s signature haute couture detailing and lavish embroidery and beading, combined with the technical precision essential for stage performance.

Lacroix’s original signed sketches, topped with a collage of the actual performer’s face, are exhibited alongside the costumes.

And after viewing the exhibition, the ateliers of the SCAD-FASH students can be visited, animated by the young American designers and artists in residence, before partaking a glass of chilled rosé on the terrace of the Café de France, with its magnificent panoramic view of Provence.

by:  Jean Grogan