If you’re looking for escapist fantasies, embellishment, and mystery at home, we have found just the thing. Step into the wild, where birds flit and flowers bloom in Maison Christian Lacroix’s exuberant new home collection for British company Designers Guild. The house of Lacroix has been beloved in fashion circles for decades; indeed, the couturier’s statement-making prints and creations have certainly ignited runways. His designs for the home are just as compelling, with collaborations like this one and with French furniture brand Roche Bobois carrying the story forward.
Exuding a childlike wonder for the natural world, the Histoires Naturelles collection of fabric, wallpapers, and home accessories is not for the subtle-minded. Magenta dahlias, crimson poppies, and buttercup-yellow pansies pop in lush vegetation, while birds preen boldly colored feathers. Conceived for the imaginary residence of a botanist, the collection is inspired by the scientific study of flora and fauna. Christian Lacroix’s creative director, Sacha Walckhoff, spoke with us about the collection, his inspirations, and why he needs to be surrounded by beauty.
What can you tell us about the collection?
It consists of wallpaper, fabrics, cushions, carpets, towels, tableware, and stationery. We developed several designs inspired by nature—the patterns Birds Sinfonia and Primavera, for example, represent birds, flowers, and insects. It’s special because there’s a surrealistic approach to it, an “unreal reality.”
What does the name signify?
L’ histoire naturelles is the study of fauna and flora, officially “invented” in France by George Louis Leclerc, Count of Buffon, in the 18th century. Placing this name in the French plural form is giving a kind of magical meaning to it, as histoire in French might also mean fairy tale.
Did something in your life act as a springboard for the idea?
Actually, I am quite an urban guy . . . maybe I am trying to balance my love of architecture by adding some visuals of nature into my home decors.
How do you start your design process?
I’ve always been attracted to art, product design, and interior design and have been collecting vintage decoration books for years. But, you know, this a tough question as everything can be inspiring—the history book I bought in Florence a few months ago, the women I passed by this morning on the way to the studio, the TV show I might see tonight! I buy a lot of out-of-print books and visit a lot of exhibitions and galleries. I also travel frequently, and my eyes are wide-open all the time. All this together might help, but my education and my background make my mind how it is, too . . . and I must say that working in fashion and lifestyle at the same time is also very inspiring. Sometimes, a bad idea in fashion might give you a great idea for a lifestyle collection!
I am very much guided by my idea of beauty; it’s impossible for me to live and work if I do not see beauty, harmony, and balance around me. My work makes me feel better, and I believe it might bring a little bit of joy to the people who appreciate it . . . and this makes my day.
Where is the ideal spot in the home to use the Histoires Naturelles wallpaper, for example?
Wallpapers are great for a dramatic entrance hall or a surprising dining room. Wallpapers in a bedroom can also be wonderful.
We’ve seen a lot of nature in home design lately. Why do you think that is?
The nature copycat trend has been around for a while now and will still be very strong this year, as we all have this need of green. At Christian Lacroix, our ideas are always inspired by nature; however, we treat it in a glamorous and sophisticated way. The Christian Lacroix nature is one of a dreamland world—a bit magical and fantastical, and totally unique.