Spring/Summer 2016 Lanvin

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With hot-pink, heart-shaped cookies and fizzing raspberry champagne enthusiastically and generously handed out to show-goers, this Lanvin show was a party-slash-love-in.

What started as a buttoned-up, pleated skirt uniform affair in a series of frayed tweeds (the staples that Alber Elbaz believes to be essential in a woman’s wardrobe), quickly morphed into dresses possessing some of the brightest sequins and full-on gem-stone shine that we have seen so far in the City of Light. It was unapologetic glamour and, as with all Alber’s creations, a celebration of womanhood.

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“It’s a celebration of femininity, of colours of shine and volume, silhouettes, bows and crystals,” said Elbaz of the sequinned cardigans, flapper-style dresses, classic A-line party dresses and rich jewel hues. Decoration was big here too, with ensembles accessorised with chandelier earrings, bold layered necklaces and brooch-heavy lapels – this season’s requisite bling not new to Lanvin, but a factor that will mean this collection comes into its own next season when it sits beside its contemporaries on the shop floor. What it was not, he told us, was playing to any predictable trends.

“In terms of the androgyny that everyone else is talking about – where the man is the woman and the woman is the man – I think that women are women and men are men. Women need to be women and men need to be men. I didn’t look at any reference for this collection but I was asking myself what is it that I need to do as a designer? And this is it.”

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While you won’t see Elbaz tapping into normcore anytime soon, the prints of Lanvin handbags, shoes, perfume bottles and the address of its Parisian flagship in the last third of the show, did in fact reference trends around him, albeit in more of an existential sense.

“It’s a different job now,” he reasoned, in his trademark soothing tones. “First, I started as a designer, then I was a creative director and now I have to work on the image – so we are image makers and we sell iconics, to sell shoes and bags and perfumes. I think that it is important to show both sides co-existing.” The upshot? Women will find plenty to fall in love with come spring.

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Spring/Summer 2015 Lanvin

TWO years ago, Alber Elbaz celebrated his 10th anniversary at Lanvin (complete with karaoke from the designer himself no less), but tonight he was celebrating 125 years of the brand.

That’s a – cause for celebration, and b – cause for enlisting some of your favourite fashion friends to take to the catwalk for you – with Amber Valetta (all hair slicked back and in a slinky black column dress) among the model line-up. Edie Campbell later followed with a mop head of blonde ruffled hair, all louche and cool in a slouchy tuxedo.

And while there was no cake or karaoke from Alber this time (although there was a little dance – well, wiggle – from him at the end) what there was, was a breadth of clothes for a breadth of women to show just why and how Elbaz is a much adored designer at the house of Lanvin.

It began with sleek Grecian dresses, slit at the thigh, in navy, black and white, substantial jewellery clamped around the neck and a bag appearing with every look. These – elegant and gently draped numbers – seemed like a due and appropriate nod to Jeanne herself. We then moved on to Alber’s own repertoire – super sophisticated tailoring for today’s woman but with his rough edges and open seams for design distinction, followed by what we know and love him best for – party dresses.

They were less cocktail and punchy than we know from him (we’ve seen these in bright jewel shades), but you can’t help but think this was the designer stepping aside slightly in honour of the house. There all the same, they were molten and metallic and had his signature sumptuous luxe about them: lace, pearls, all together. Next it was on to a series of wafty and light printed tunic dresses, a modern and short bohemian riff on the Lanvin robe de style perhaps. They came in vivid yellow and red.
 
The take away from this collection was Elbaz’s ability to design and cater for a multitude of women – just as his model line-up proved. And that’s the key to Lanvin’s success right now.

 

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