By  on January 13, 2011

PARIS — Christian Lacroix, now a licensing operation following the exit of the founding designer and the shuttering of the couture house in late 2009, is continuing its march into fashion — and the home.

On Jan. 22, during men’s fashion week here, the Paris-based firm will unveil a new range of men’s bags, the first accessories volley in a broad licensing pact with French firm Groupe TWC covering men’s and women’s leather goods, jewelry and watches.

And from Jan. 21 to 25, during the Maison & Objet trade fair, Lacroix will showcase new lines of home textiles with English firm Designers Guild, characterizing the collection as a first step toward a furniture range.

Lacroix creative director Sacha Walckhoff has conceived four men’s lines for the accessories launch: two in leather, one in canvas and another in nylon. Retail prices will range from about 100 euros, or $130 at current exchange rates, for small leather goods, to around 800 euros, or $1,035, for a leather weekender.

Walckhoff said nylon and canvas styles would be trendier and more fashion-driven, with decorative touches such as embroideries.

Men’s wear is seen as a key growth avenue for Lacroix, which has licenses with Sadeve for men’s suits and sportswear, Rousseau for men’s shirts and knitwear and Mantero for scarves and neckties.

During Lacroix’s men’s presentation, Walckhoff also will unveil a collaboration with Kopenhagen Fur: reversible caban and blouson styles that are astrakhan on one side and specially treated leather on the other.

He also teamed up with J.M. Weston to produce pairs of that brand’s shoes in a “special navy” shade to match the fall collection, and hinted the relationship with the French shoemaker could blossom into a partnership.

“I really want this possibility of working with people who have a special know-how,” he said in an interview.

Nicolas Topiol, Lacroix’s chief executive officer, said the pact with TWC would be unveiled in stages, with women’s leather goods being readied for the trade in late January or early February and women’s watches and jewelry making its debut first at the Baselworld show in late March.

Topiol said he selected TWC as a partner because it has varied distribution, licensing and branded businesses. Its licensing stable for accessories includes brands such as Cerruti, Paul & Joe and Thierry Mugler, and it recently acquired French eyewear firm L’Amy, which makes frames and sunglasses for labels like Chloé, Nina Ricci and Proenza Schouler.

Topiol declined to give sales projections for any of the launches but said Lacroix aims to become a key player in the home category.

To wit: The first collection with Designers Guild, with fabrics retailing from 80 to 220 euros a meter, or $105 to $285, spans 10 designs in a range of colors, along with cushions and rugs.

Walckhoff said all the prints and jacquards are new yet draw on Lacroix’s rich fashion heritage and its evocative roots in the south of France — from monuments in the couturier’s hometown of Arles to the bullfighting tradition. Some prints are interpreted from couture dresses, including one modeled by Lacroix muse Marie Seznec in 1989 and another from a 2002 couture dress and cape worn famously by Madonna for a Steven Klein photo project in W magazine.

Last year, Lacroix launched decorative wood panels with France’s Marotte as a business-to-business venture for decorators, and plans to layer on more home categories for consumers.

Topiol said discussions are already under way for additional categories, including home accessories, linen and tablewear.

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