A rumor is lacking in foundation, a non-truth, but it can be the beginning of a great story. As it was today. What started out as a wild rumor quickly revealed itself with a red rose placed on each seat with a small card tied to it, hanging from a ribbon, that read: “DVN * XCLX.” It was still cryptic, but to those that had already been questioning the handwriting on the invitation, the XCLX led them directly to Monsieur Christian Lacroix. One almost felt like jumping in the air, like Edina Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous, screaming, “Lacroix, sweetie!”
It may seem like an unlikely pairing at first: a cerebral Belgian and a French maximalist couturier, but Van Noten has always been deft in his balancing of the austere and the baroque. Only he could make sportswear for the opera, so it was that the coming together of the two made total sense on the runway.
The first look could have been pure Van Noten, save for the exaggerated feather piercing the hair, and the long trailing ribbon, but look two was a total giveaway. The puff-sleeve shoulder was pure Lacroix thrust into 2020 via a clean white tank top and a see-through skirt with a black ostrich trim. By look three we were in full symbiotic hyper-drive, enjoying two masters bouncing off one another with clashing patterns and perfect color with an oversize silk tee matched to a full couture skirt. The collection was a dream, and each look took us further into their collective unrealities.
It really hit home when the two signatures collided, giving us unexpected possibilities like a sequinned oversize sweatshirt with a full transparent silk polkadot skirt, or what looked to be a ball gown that was too big for the runway, which, when viewed from the back, was a billowing parka — pure fashion brilliance. The jacquards were intricate and acid bright, while the embroidery was exquisite and delicate. A little red matador jacket with gold-bullion embroidery could have looked like costume under any normal circumstance, but here it was divine and so easy to wear.
Van Noten made it clear that he didn’t want to make an homage, but that he wanted to work with Lacroix to celebrate “all that would be maximalist, optimistic, flamboyant, inclusive and enchantingly extravagant.” And, this was achieved with perfection, all the way down to the smallest details. A visibly emotional Van Noten took to the runway at the end with Lacroix and their bride, smiling. They knew they’d knocked it out of the park.