Alber Elbaz gives Lanvin the power
If any designer can capture the zeitgeist, it’s Alber Elbaz.
But what could have brought on this fierce, stripped back, predominantly black (with shards of disco-mirror-ball) power-show?
Maybe it’s the Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane effect? The arbiters of minimalism, now heading up Paris’ most august houses – their influence has rippled through the season so far. Maybe it’s just something in the air? Or maybe it’s the economy and the urgent need for collections to meet the requirements of modern, multi-faceted women? (Which this collection certainly did).
‘It was about purity and precision, not minimalism,’ said Elbaz in the crush backstage. ‘I started with classics this season, then I looked at how to abstract them. Classicism was all about perfecting the square. Everything in this collection is a square.’
So, he took the classics – the tuxedo, the little black dress, the one-shouldered gown, the bow – and built from them the most intense shoulder lines, bold and square. A strapless black duchess silk dress or a silk shift printed with a classical nude statue were all square sharp angles, from shoulder to thigh. Meanwhile, sleeveless tuxedos wafted asymmetric hems, or sharp little skirts jutted out at an angle. And the trousers. Yes. Trousers. At Lanvin. They were structured, razor sharp and clasped the waist. There were so many more pieces, or rather blocks from which to build a wardrobe – a surprise, because, let’s face it Mr Elbaz loves dresses. ‘We have to cater, we have to give women the trousers, but also make her desire the new black dress,’ he said.
What of all that black? For summer? 'But black is not a colour,' announced the designer.
From her lethal mirror-heeled stilettos (or mirror-block heeled pumps) to her sharp trouser suits covered in what looked like shards of a disco mirror ball, who better than Alber Elbaz to champion women at their boldest?