- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2009

PARIS — The floundering French fashion house Christian Lacroix, which has launched insolvency proceedings, has received three takeover offers — the most serious from the Italian Borletti group, a judicial administrator said Monday.

The offers, which also include a French management consultancy, will be examined before Paris’ commercial court in September. The exact date has not been set.

Monday was the last day to file offers for the house, noted for the elaborate designs and bright colors of the famed designer’s native Arles. Christian Lacroix employs 125 people and in its 22 years of existence moved to the fore of the high-fashion scene.

Mr. Lacroix has blamed the global economic downturn for doing him in financially, saying the luxury domain was significantly affected. The designer launched insolvency proceedings in late May and is expected to close the door at the end of July.

The house put on its perhaps final haute couture collection at an emotionally charged runway show in early July, showcasing Mr. Lacroix’s savoir-faire amid hopes of attracting a buyer.

In an initial assessment, the offer by the Borletti group, which owns the La Renascent and the French El Printemps department stores, was judged the most “serious,” according to Regis Valliot, the judicial administrator named to handle the case.

A second offer by Bernard Krief Consulting, which specializes in buying up failing companies, was judged “unsatisfactory and disappointing” by Regis Valliot. An “inconsistent” offer by two unknowns also was put forth, it said.

The Falic Group, a U.S. duty-free retailer, bought Christian Lacroix from Paris-based luxury goods empire LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2005. The group had big plans for Lacroix’s expansion in the United States.

In 2008, the house posted a loss of $14.2 million.

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