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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Alber Elbaz / Lanvin Manifesto | Exhibition Paris

“In the digital era, we live through our screens, put in pictures the moment. We no longer look we’re filming. We do not listen, we record. And we no longer speak, we download”

–  Alber Elbaz, artistic director of Lanvin


In his studio, the designer worked around the body with the help of a model and his team. All turn to him with a simple “Alber” testimony of discreet affection dosed in an obvious complicity. He writes his collections in the darkness of a room, with a blank page and a black felt for better feel and express desires of women in the garment. It guides designers at each stage of construction providing solutions to technical problems. The pace of racing and collections every season is a new pretext for further research in his laboratory creation rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

His mastery of color makes the joy of editors and far too accustomed to the eternal black and white duel clients. This did not prevent him from also play on this register! His palette is a delight for photographers who intuitively consist of graphics, pixelated punctuated pigments emotions that emerge silhouettes.

He has no email address, do not use social networks and leave to others the task of documenting his work through photography or movies. A surprising distance with technological innovations that today dictate many social changes. Le digital influence pourtant directement son design car l’image est aussi son métier. The digital design directly influences yet because the image is also his job.


The supremacy of the picture now leads him to incorporate a new dimension to the look he brings to his work. A few years earlier, only his eyes could be judges of fact made dress. Today, flat screen became a second critical imbalance sometimes with reality, “that is beautiful on the screen is not necessarily beautiful or comfortable on the body.” Fashion and luxury are coerced image, reversing their force report on this communication channel. This context requires constant questioning of the creator that shapes its collections in volume and not flat. Lanvin Alber advocates for a world less square and more rounded, forget the screen some time and puts people at the center of attention. How to translate this vision in three dimensions for a picture exhibition which essentially have only two?

Leaving witnesses under advised and accompanied Lanvin Alber Elbaz for many years, building immortalize moments fugitives technicality, attention to finishes, details of materials and magic shows.


Orchestrated by Alber Elbaz with the help of its teams, this exhibition plunges the visitor into the intimacy of the fittings, the emotion of the Lanvin fashion shows and beauty of creation. A first in the history of the oldest Parisian fashion house still in business. Five thoughts rooms like atmospheres highlight the work of the creator, not a monologue, but in a continuous dialogue between fashion and photography.

More than 350 signed photographs of photographers Purpose Sou Lai, Mark Leibowitz, Katy Reiss, James Bort, Juliette Da Cunha and Alex Koo transcribe the passion of the garment. A video installation punctuated by the voice of the creator and animated by three projections from backstage pictures, taken by Jean-Christophe Moine and shows, captured by Seraphin Ducellier, complete this scenography.

It is an introspective exposure, not retrospective to attempt an immersion in the Alber Elbaz dream machine for Lanvin. Built like an art installation, it does not provide a final reading, leaving the visitor to mitigate his mind to open his heart. An invitation to look, listen and talk, to paraphrase the first citation of the designer.

Could it be his manifesto?


Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Lanvin

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Alber Elbaz sure does know how to put a spring in everyone’s Parisian step. You’d have been hard-pushed to find someone not smiling, foot-tapping or head-still-nodding after his show this evening – one that went back to his Moroccan roots (he was born in Casablanca) with verve and flair, and will have had women already compiling a mental shopping list to save up for before they even left the show venue.

It was a beautiful collection full of seductive personality: wrap-slit skirts with tassels tied at the waist; floppy-but-fashioned-in-place hats; billowy gypsy dresses and blouses; gaucho layers and gorgeous knee-high boots of luxe patchwork or tarnished in gold with trousers tucked in; fringing that spiralled around skirts from waist to hem – and when it wasn’t fringing (which exploded down the seams of elbow-length gloves too), it was feathers that buoyantly bobbed.

There were supersized Tibetan-style blanket coats, and molten prairie skirts, artisanal all the way – tassels dangling, single-breasted easy trailing jackets over wonderful eclectic layers beneath. Altogether it looked great and you knew that taken apart would have the same effect too – be it that be-feathered skirt, the wrap-tied one or that pale pink wisp of a dress.

And if Madame is looking for something with a little more sparkle, then look no further than the series of severely sequin embroidered tunics, trousers, capes and caps at the end. Lanvin bling in its best form.

Last season, Lanvin’s 125th anniversary, Elbaz had kept it relatively simple – which made this collection have all the more impact. And the man himself was clearly pleased, taking a proper bow and gracing us with his presence half way down the catwalk before skipping back and turning to give us all a cheeky grin.

The clothes, the man, what’s not to love?

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The Ballet Pump

THE ballet pump – a starlet classic which we all have at the back of our wardrobes – hasn’t had an easy ride over the past few years. Deemed polite to the point of prissy, the staple shoe developed a bad rep after the high street was flooded with every variation imaginable a decade ago… the patent, gingham or leg-toning adaptations during the Noughties.

Now is the time to switch your attitude to the humble ballet slipper. The simplest of all-day, everyday shoes has made a comeback thanks to Celine: Phoebe Philo showed a stretchy, pliable style on the spring/summer 2015 catwalk. The key to the new-look ballet pump is an elegant almond-shaped toe (rather than round) – try Lanvin, A.P.C or French Sole. Pick a punchy red or tan, matte leather – extra marks go for authentic balletic details such as ribbon ties or blush silk, which works particularly well with suiting, where a box-fresh white trainer now feels a little obvious.


Over on the red carpet, the ballet shoe is elbowing the lace-up stiletto out of the limelight: Karlie Kloss made a very convincing case for the uber-classic Chanel pump at the Tribeca Film Festival last week, pairing hers with a little tweed dress. They look chic, in a sprightly sort-of way, don’t they?

Maybe heels are simply feeling like too much hard work, or post-normcore there’s enough irony to dressing safe to make it appealing now. Either way, the modest ballet pump feels refreshingly feminine for summer 2015 – which is something we shouldn’t be afraid of.

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