A mythical name among the fashion scene, he shaped our minds with its very recognizable style that left its mark in the 80’s and 90’s, conquering the world of the fashion addicts and not only. Thanks to a style that exudes colors, refinement and inspiration from Baroque to Pop Art, away from minimalism and always consistent to its roots, with an international spirit and brand’s philosophy, but at the same time witty and spontaneous with a typical French joie de vivere. Christian Lacroix left the brand with its name in 2009, but the brand was continued under the creative director Sacha Walckhoff’s guidance, who focused mainly on revamping the brands and develop its lifestyle collections. Now, to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the brand’s birth, the maison called a well-known multimedia and New York based artist Brian Kenny, to create a capsule collection where some of his original works have been reproduced on many commonly used items, from cups to the t-shirts, to mobile covers. The new Lacroix universe shines with a new sparkling and refreshing approach that has intrigued us, that’s why we decided to interview the two protagonists of this adventure: Sacha Walckhoff and Brian Kenny.
Tell us how this collaboration is born.
Sacha Walckhoff: I know Brian’s art for around 10 years, back then, he was working with artist Slava Mogutin, their team was named Superm. I crossed his work again on instagram 2 years ago, we met, I visited his long island city workshop and was impressed by his extensive work and by his bright personality. To work with him for the 30 years celebration of the Lacroix brand was the perfect occasion to build the strong friendship we have today… and to deliver a joyful collection!
Brian Kenny: Like many great stories, it all started with a beautiful pair of shoes–and these shoes were covered with unicorns! Sacha, who had followed me on Instagram, sent them to me at my studio as a gift because of the resemblance to some of my drawings and our friendship grew from there.
What is your feel with Lacroix? How your creative direction is reinventing the Lacroix style ?
Sacha Walckhoff: I have been with the house for 25 years, worked 18 years alongside Christian so I went through all the different periods of the Maison. When Christian Lacroix left in 2009 and I was nominated creative director 6 months later, the house was almost collapsing. With Nicolas Topiol, ceo since 2005, we always thought that the house had something to say in the lifestyle universe. We met with Tricia Guild, artistic director and founder of Designers Guild and worked with her backup on the first Lacroix home collection (2011) which has today a lovely succès. It showed us all that the house was strong and could reinvent herself. I do base all my research on the words that are defining the brand: colour, mixity, surprise, flamboyance and singularity. From this, with my studio, freelancers and now artists like Brian, I allow myself a total freedom of creation, we just have to be faithful to those words!
Brian Kenny: I feel that my own creative style was already aligned with Lacroix style before the collaboration. This is a style of wild fantasy and vibrant diversity, a total freedom of imagination and an aesthetic of novelty and inclusion. So rather than re-inventing, my creative direction in this collaboration actually expands the richness and depth of the Lacroix creative universe.
Who do you address this celebrative 30th years anniversary collection to?
Sacha Walckhoff: Our customers are from all kind of origins and ages but with Brian, we are also now talking to a younger crowd who did not know the 80s, it was important for me to have a young artist like Brian expressing his art and vision throughout the prism of a house he didn’t really knew before. It was also important for me to work with an artist who adresses himself to the world and to the gay community with humour and wit.
Brian Kenny: This special 30th anniversary collection is a celebration and so EVERYONE is invited to the party! This is why many of the items in the collection are priced very affordably so it is accessible to anyone who wants to wear or take home something from the magical house of Lacroix!
Looking at your work, we can see different techniques and themes, how would you define your style?
Sacha Walckhoff: Believe it or not… I was born a minimalist, educated in Switzerland, I love the truth,the simplicity and a certain structure… but I have also a bit of Russian and African in me which attracted me to the Lacroix brand. The result is a structured but eclectic personality who is always curious. Actually we have a lot of common with Brian who is from a religious and military background and became a wild and passionated multimedia artist!
Brian Kenny: I’m very interested in experimentation, spontaneity and exploring new ideas, so my style is very broad and inclusive of many different approaches. Essentially, this is a style of maximalism. For example, I really interested in new ideas about the fluid nature of sexuality and gender, so I’m drawing, painting and sewing together images of trans experiences: androgynous creatures and shapeshifters.
Could you tell us what are your next projects? Do you already imagine other collaborations through Christian Lacroix ? with other artists? other brands?
Sacha Walckhoff: I love the collaborative process, we already collaborated on special pieces with Kartell and MOOOI last year (Marcel Wanders is also a good friend and an extraordinary personality). So we will definitely do it again. I just need to have a special relationship with the brand or the artist as this is above all about having a creative and emotional moment together… Brian left this morning for NY, all the studio sent him fairwell notes yesterday night and after the amazing moments we all had together, I was happy to see that beside the great collection we did, there is all those new bounds between us all that will remain too.
Brian Kenny: I’m currently preparing to execute a giant mural at a museum in Rotterdam for an exhibition in September about masks curated by Walter Van Beirendonck that will be a panorama of fantastical masked creatures all reaching for and touching each other in what I like to call “Connective Drawings” (for an example, see my reinterpretation of this series of photographs from Gayletter magazine). I will forever be grateful to have been given the opportunity to add my story to the ever-unfolding tapestry of Lacroix, and considering that Lacroix is an inclusive and visionary brand, I imagine they will continue to reach outward and collaborate with many other wonderful artists and creative people. As for myself, collaboration will always be an important part of my practice so I will definitely continue to work with other artists and brands as well.
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