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Lingering and Lovely Lanvin

Godfrey Deeny
October 02nd, 2009 @ 4:46 PM - Paris

Lanvin gave a master class in subtle chic in its Spring 2010 women’s ready-to-wear collection, though the house’s designer Alber Elbaz did take plenty of risks with his sculptural and psychedelic finale.

By Elbaz standards, we witnessed a somewhat restrained opening to this show, staged in a disused railway station Friday evening, Oct. 2, in eastern Paris. The first score of looks, mainly dresses, were monochromatic, mostly black, with hints of midnight blue, shiny beige and blood orange. The art here was in the draping, with décolleté cocktail dresses sporting five inch ruffles, like three-dimensional outlines of this designer’s sketches.

Next spring, Elbaz proposed dresses that swirl down from their neck, attached to primitive crystal necklaces - the best of these was a fire engine red skin-like leather scene-stealer draped into an ice cream spin.

The show was also full of one-shouldered ideas, whether twisted and fluted jumpsuits or fiendishly well-cut cocktail dresses.

“I did a show and it was not a show for journalists, because I'm afraid of journalists," said Elbaz, expanding his hands, shrugging a little. "It was a show for women and from women I'm not scared. I love women. I'm surrounded by women, and I work for women.”

Under Elbaz, Lanvin has become a must-see show on the international calendar attracting "it girl" actresses and cool singers. On one side sat Kristen Scott Thomas and Janet Jackson and on the other Jade Jagger and Maggie Cheung. They looked at home in the huge space, where a rusted metal runway began from a thirties movie set backdrop, replete with giant Modernist chandelier.

The audience eyes seemed to glimmer at the finale with looks that eddied like whirlpools, their patterns illuminated by bugle beads, sequins, studs and crystals, for a pretty spectacular denouement.

“Sometimes I feel like a gambler, 'cause we have to work all of this time of one year - the process is that long to make a collection. And, you know, this big chandelier is one that we brought from a casino,” laughed Elbaz, as a score of camera crews waited for their mini audience with him post-show.

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