Swiss-French designer Sacha Walckhoff is the new Creative Director at the couture house Christian Lacroix. Walckhoff has been working with Lacrroix since 1992. He joined as a knitwear designer, moved onto diffusion line Bazar, then to jeans, and eventually menswear.
He left the company full time to consult for brands like Kenzo in 2000, but returned three years later when Lacroix began spending more energy working on his collections for Pucci.
The designer has been at Lacroix’s side ever since, through the last two years of financial trouble, culminating with the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2009.
It wasn’t until after Lacroix announced he was breaking all ties with the company, that CEO Nicolas Topiol and Miami, Fla.-based investors the Falic Group asked Walckhoff to come on as Creative Director.
Walckhoff’s first ready-to-wear collection – Menswear, is funded by a licensee. Women’s pret-a-porter and couture are part of the future, but not the present. Along with the menswear and bridal licenses, the company is now dabbling in home textiles, sunglasses and stationery as well.
“The last two years have been very painful,” he says, and you can see the sadness in his eyes. “There was no money, and there was no harmony.” Much like the rest of us, it was difficult for Walckhoff to watch Lacroix’s lack of concern for his financial problems. For years, he struggled to see beyond the couture; to offer the same magic in more affordable items.
But after the sadness, comes hope. “The Falic brothers proposed that we go on, and I believe that the brand can succeed. It’s a personal conviction,” says Walckhoff. “When you mention ‘Christian Lacroix,’ people open their eyes wide with excitement,” he says, “But no one believes that they can actually own Lacroix. I want to change that.”