Since he left the couture biz in 2009, Christian Lacroix shows up everywhere. Having already made jeans, home wares, perfume, books, cosmetics and lingerie—not to mention the uniforms worn by Air France staff—he now seems to be exploring everything else. This includes luxury hotels and their furnishings, work with the Spanish label Desigual and the design of stunning costumes for both ballet and theatre. But Lacroix’s latest Paris fashion first is designing the Medal of Marriage.
The Paris mint, la Monnaie de Paris, is one of the country’s oldest institutions. Although it was Louis XV who established its current HQ, the mint was active as far back as the ninth century. Its imposing building on the quai de Conti houses both a museum and an art gallery. Although la Monnaie is currently closed for renovations it has dubbed MétaLmorphoses, the busy shop and e-boutique remain open for business.
Providing commemorations of “the great events of life,” the mint’s medals are well known among Parisians. These decorations include medals for baptisms or birthdays as well as engagements, marriages and anniversaries. In addition to those coins we use every day, la Monnaie fabricates all the nation’s decorations and medals. Its commemorative pieces, however, are a specialty. The collections include a homage to Le Petit Prince as well as medals of French heroes such as Eiffel. It also makes special collections for comic-book fans. In fact, the mint’s boutique at 2, rue Guénégaud (Mon–Sat, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) is a treasure trove of surprises. In addition to medals and regalia, there is classic jewelry.
Lacroix’s medals are not their first brush with Paris fashion. Back in 2009, la Monnaie struck a medal for the maison Chanel. Designed and signed by Karl Lagerfeld, it honored the 125th anniversary of that brand. However, since 2010, it is Christian Lacroix who has served as artistic adviser. Because his couture collections were famous for lavish bridal gowns and because Lacroix has long worked with wedding firms, he seemed a logical choice for the Marriage Medal. Plus, because civil unions—les PACS—are also popular here, Lacroix decided this ceremony deserved its own medal.
Both designs are enormously successful. Paris fashion critics gave them such acclaim that Lacroix is now at work on a baptism medal.