It’s become a norm for Christian Lacroix to appear in a new production of opera, ballet or play every season and this term isn’t any different as Roland-Garros asked the legendary designer to dream up new looks for today’s top tennis stars in relation to the ongoing French open tournament.
Talking through his sketches for the grand slam tournament, the Frenchman explained the motive behind each of stars costume selection with his choices for Serena Williams hailed by many.
“I have always admired folk costumes, so I decided to depict the players in outfits which hark back to their origins. What inspired me does not always come through in the designs, but they are motifs and embroidery that have been borrowed from the countries which the players hail from.”
“For Serena Williams, who is the perfect Amazon, I blended Africa and the United States by inserting Apache motifs on her dress. Rafael Nadal is elegance personified, but somewhat of a tortured soul. He would make a wonderful torero; he’s got the looks for it! For him, I imagined a sort of tracksuit with embroidery from a very old costume in my possession.”
“For Novak Djokovic, I wanted to avoid any political connotations, so instead I opted for motifs from Central Europe. And finally, Roger Federer of course is Swiss.”
Christian Lacroix always been a household name but his popularity hit new heights in 2005 when he took the helm as Air France’s costume designer, following in the footsteps of Nina Ricci, Carven and Louis Féraud. Mixing French elegance with functionality, he was the first to design the entire collection (some 100 items) from the dress right down to the tie clips, pumps, knit scarves and bob hats.
In his attempt to create consistency across the board, the Arles-born designer was also the first to overhaul the uniforms for both men and women. This was a considerable challenge though with sizes ranging from 32 to 48, including maternity wear; ages from 20 to 60; and the navy-blue ensembles had to work from tropical climates to cold European winters.
Christian Lacroix’s costumes will be features at the following productions:
Romeo and Juliet, the Comédie-Française, until 30 May
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, the Opéra royal de Versailles, 3 – 5 June
For the 2016-2017 season: A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Opéra de Paris. Pelléas et Mélisande at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and l’Hôtel du Libre-échange at the Comédie-Française.