At a young age Christian Lacroix began sketching historical costumes and fashions. In 1969 he graduated from high school in 1969 and moved to Montpellier, to study Art History at the University of Montpellier. In 1971, he enrolled at the Sorbonne in Paris. While working on a dissertation on dress in French 18th-century painting, Lacroix also pursued a program in museum studies at the École du Louvre. His aspiration during this time was to become a museum curator.
From 1976 to 1978 Christian Lacroix was a freelance fashion sketcher. From 1978 to 1980 he served as an assistant at Hermés in Paris. In 1980 he worked as an assistant to Guy Paulin. From 1981 to 1987 Lacroix was a designer and artistic director of Jean Patou brand. In 1987 he opened he opened his own couture and ready-to-wear house and established Christian Lacroix haute couture and salons in Paris.
In 1974 Christian Lacroix married Françoise Rosenthiel.