Lacroix Meets With French Minister

Designer Christian Lacroix discusses Borletti's bid for his fashion house with Industry Minister Christian Estrosi.

Christian Lacroix taking a bow at his last couture show.

PARIS — A day after submitting a joint bid for the company that bears his name, Christian Lacroix sounded confident about his plan to save the financially troubled haute couture house and the support he’s receiving in his offer to revive the business.

This story first appeared in the July 29, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“We have had an extremely positive conversation,” Lacroix said after meeting with Industry Minister Christian Estrosi Tuesday afternoon.

The couturier said he also has the support of “the people in the street,” adding he feels “enlivened” by the idea of continuing his business.

Lacroix also met with culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand last week before submitting Monday a joint offer for the fashion house along with Italy’s Borletti Group, which has stakes in both La Rinascente and Printemps department stores.

Régis Valliot, the administrator for the fashion house, said Monday the Borletti Group had made a “serious” offer for Christian Lacroix SNC, which filed for protection against creditors in May.

Lacroix said the Borletti proposal would keep the couture and the licensing business, but also would develop a luxury ready-to-wear line. The designer suggested the plan also would envisage a new fragrance, to follow the now defunct C’est la Vie. “The brand doesn’t yet have the perfume it deserves,” he said.

Lacroix added he would become a shareholder in the company, if the bid is successful.

The designer’s link to Borletti dates back to

the late Nineties, when he designed a range of

china for luxury tableware company Christofle, which was run by Maurizio Borletti, the founding partner of Borletti Group.

Referring to his meeting with the designer to discuss the future of the couture house, Estrosi said the French government is closely following the developments and wanted to show its solidarity with Lacroix, whose brand it regards as a symbol of France.

“It was me who invited him,” Estrosi said.

French turnaround specialist Bernard Krief also has bid for Christian Lacroix SNC, but its offer was deemed “insufficient” by the administrator. Louis Petiet, head of the firm, has said the company would consider improving its offer next month or perhaps consider linking with Borletti.

A commercial court is due to rule in September on the offers submitted to the administrator.