Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 2:22 p.m.
In France, major fashion houses and their designers are seen as cultural icons. When Yves Saint Laurent died last year, the national outpouring of grief was compared to what might happen in this country when a figure like Bob Dylan passes on.
Christian Lacroix -- in this case the company, not the designer -- is on life support, or to put it less melodramatically, in bankruptcy. The label has never turned a profit, but under the ownership of LVMH was able to survive with the losses offset by the conglomerate's other brands such as Louis Vuitton, Belvedere Vodka, Hennessy Cognac, and Marc Jacobs.
Then, in 2005, the company was sold to the Falic Group, a Miami firm that specializes in duty-free shops. The three Falic brothers who own it had hoped to make the company profitable, but that never panned out. If a buyer doesn't come forward, they reportedly plan to gut the company and reorganize it as a licensing agency -- basically slapping the Lacroix name on products made by others.