Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty: A Fashion Fairy Tale Memoir
The press release for this book reads “fairy tale and haute couture mix charmingly in this re-imagined story. . . .” Believe it or not, there is not one word of hyperbole in that description. And evidently there is an entire series of these books featuring fashion designers and various other re-envisioned “once upon a time” stories.
This version of Sleeping Beauty is most definitely “re-imagined” to coincide with the career of Monsieur Lacroix, in the process also casting him as Prince Charming, causing this hard core fashion cynic to smile all the way through the book.
Ms. Morton has successfully taken the details of Mr. Lacroix’s life and has woven them into the fabric of the fairy tale . . . pun intended. With accompanying images, the story and art are combined in a most engaging technique—odd and surprising and fresh in a way one rarely experiences in fashion memoirs.
One of the most wonderful moments in Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty occurs very early on when one discovers that the princess’s name is Beauty. Yes, we all know that the fairy tale has starred said “Beauty” from its inception, from Perrault to Disney. But here, in the context of high fashion, where beauty is paramount, this nomenclature feels like a simple and yet disarming gesture—here presented with not one iota of irony, as if Beauty were the right of every princess. Which is as it should be.
That said, this is not really a fairy tale for the kids—even though it contains all the familiar elements of the tale—for it is the juxtaposition of the art and the tale that lands this squarely into adult material. The illustrations by Mr. Lacroix are not as lighthearted as the story itself. The drawings are slightly dark—a tad disturbing, considering the ingenuous subject matter—the primary reason why this high-fashion version of Sleeping Beauty is hardly the fairy tale of your childhood memory.
All this being said, Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty is a fairy tale for grownups, a paean to one of the 20th century’s greatest designers presented in a novel and delightful fashion.
The moral to this tale is that even designers can be Prince Charming.