March 29, 2011

Lanvin – Contemporary Roots


Jardin des Tuileries. Lanvin défilé.

Right at the gate entrance to the famous park, there was a big fuss. Alber Elbaz – alias a passionate fan, who was wearing a mask with the designer’s face – was collecting smiles and curiosity by offering the guests a funny welcome. But the genuine attractions for the photographers’ cameras before the show began were Jade Jagger, Mick Jagger’s daughter, and Rosamund Pike, the British actress starring in Surrogates.

The Lanvin presentation started with the display of a huge willow planted against the setting. And, to emphasize the artistic effects, smoke and air jets were smoothly pumped giving the branches of the weeping willow a clumsy swing.

This was the ingenious mise en scène used by Elbaz to project the look for the new cold season in several stylistic moments. Stern cape coats made of fur, leather or cloth advanced gradually onto the stage followed by a crescendo of the outfits reaching their climax in an explosion of volume and colour.

The austerity of the dark colours shown in the beginning of the collection was considerably sugarcoated by the accessorizing massive floral jewellery. The conspicuous tone of the outfits was set by the overstatingly wide-brimmed hats which artfully fused the Jewish style caps with the fairytale magicians’ hats.

To the end of the défilé, Maison Lanvin surprised us with an inflow of short cocktail dresses gracefully arranged in loose folds. Showing a naked shoulder or reshaping the sleeves of the dresses by volume injections, they were ‘painted’ in colours descending from coral red and electric fuchsia to orange and mustard yellow. The elegance beyond reproach of the evening wear was paired by long leather gloves and rose-shaped bracelets.

“I’ve jumped from one extreme to the other. From black to colour. From stern to loose. My finish is always colourful; I end in an optimistic tone because I myself am a very optimistic person”, Alber Elbaz said to me.

Although the theme of the collection was “Back to the Roots”, the general feeling was that Elbaz’s roots went rather for contemporariness. The glow of his clothes looked so present-day that the return to the conservative lines of the past did nothing else but stress the refined touch typical of his style.

Deeply rooted into the fashion industry for well above 100 years, Maison Lanvin convinced the guests to believe, without exception, that its show was indeed the most elegant performance witnessed on the Paris Fashion Week’s runaway. An elegance which rose above time and trends, in particular.

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