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Christian Lacroix hopes are kept alive

Nicolas Topiol, the president of the ailing fashion house Christian Lacroix, still hopes that its colourful, baroque-inspired haute couture line can be resurrected.

Nicolas Topiol, the president of the ailing fashion house Christian Lacroix, still hopes that its colourful, baroque-inspired haute couture line can be resurrected. Mr Topiol's comments come after the Paris Court of Commerce on Tuesday approved a restructuring plan for the label that will shut down its haute couture division, cut 100 jobs and spread repayments to creditors over 10 years.

"The financial stability of the company needs to be achieved," he said. "From there, we will be able to pragmatically redevelop its activities, including ready-to-wear and accessories. If we are successful, haute couture could even be considered." The restructuring plan, which will come into effect before the end of the month as required by French law, was approved by the court after doubts were cast over the financial viability of the two leading bids for the company.

The label's court-appointed administrator, Regis Valliot, said last month that Sheikh Hassan bin Ali Al Nuaimi, a member of the ruling family of Ajman, and Bernard Krief Consulting had failed to submit financial guarantees proving they had the liquidity to support their proposals. But Mr Topiol said he had been in contact with representatives of Sheikh Hassan since the court approved the restructuring plan, put forward by the Falic Group, which acquired Christian Lacroix in 2005 from LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

"I understand from them - that they are still very motivated to finalise the transaction in the terms of their initial offer," he said. "They have indicated to me that their financing would be available in the very short term. We are waiting for this to materialise. We are focusing on the Sheikh of Ajman and also preparing our restructuring plan in parallel [with this]." Mr Topiol added that the French government had been "active" in trying to save the fashion house, set up in 1987 by Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of LVMH.

Just last week, Christian Estrosi, the French minister of industry, said he had "mobilised the French diplomatic network in the UAE" to alert Sheikh Hassan to the urgency of the situation. fglover@thenational.ae

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