Fashion designers might not be well known as cuddly types (with the exception of Tom Ford, though that’s a whole other ball game) but lovely Alber Elbaz, Artistic director of Lanvin, has cemented his reputation as the funniest and most charming designer on the block at the presentation of Lanvin’s Summer 2011 Cruise Collection.
Monsieur Elbaz personally presents the Lanvin collections each season because he feels that “It’s not just about collections or selling and buying, or style numbers or magazine covers. It’s about people, it’s about humans, it’s about faces and love and hate and good and bad. That’s what the presentation is all about.” Which is a lovely, untypical way of looking at fashion shows, but one that we wholeheartedly agree with.
Alber started yesterday’s presentation of the Lanvin Summer 2011 Cruise Collection by talking about his rubbish birthday last Saturday. He said, “It was the most pathetic birthday I have ever had… I was flying from Paris to New York by myself, and the only person who I celebrated with was a stewardess in the Air France lounge who brought me a little muffin with a candle on it and then sang to me.”
So far, so disastrous, but when Alber arrived at the Mercer hotel on Saturday night he found that the staff had left him a cake (which Grazia Daily can confirm you do NOT get at a Premier Inn) and he then “…started to taste and pick at it, and then I thought about how dangerous it was because I will never fit into my pants the day after," (amen to that, brother) "so I just tried to move it somewhere so that it was out of my eye line. But then the whole cake fell on the floor, and I was so embarrassed to call the room service about it that I cleaned it all by myself.”
Now, the thought of Alber Elbaz, a man who Barneys Fashion Director Julie Gilhart described as "number one," when asked if she thought he was the greatest living designer, cleaning cake off the floor of the Mercer Hotel, NY on his birthday is something which we not only feel an odd affinity with but which definitely makes us love him even more.
Aaanyhoo, after the collection had been presented - more of which below – Alber declared “that’s it!” to the waiting press at which point something BRILLAINT happened. They sang Happy Birthday! Alber apparently blushed, bowed and thanked everyone following the spontaneous singalong. We SO wish we had been there!
SHOW REPORT: Lanvin Summer 2011 Cruise Collection
The collection itself is typically female-focused, where Elbaz has taken the needs of his clients and put them first. Barneys Julie Gilhart says "Alber really thinks about a day in the life of a woman, a real woman…. He thinks about how women are, and how he can make them feel like their fantasy. He makes fantasy clothes that fit into our basic lifestyle."
This season, Elbaz has included a number of pieces that can be altered and transformed; dresses which can be turned inside out into trench coats, skirts with adjustable hems. This might sound faintly naff, but the collection is so beautifully cut that the transformative elements of the collection feel seamlessly incorporated rather than like hastily added gimmicks.
The collection was predominantly made up of dresses, which managed to be fitted and forgiving at once and ranged from thigh-skimmingly short to voluminous and floor length. There were bathing suits with matching cover-ups and perfect pencil cut trousers teamed with boxy, long-line double-breasted jackets, which gave the relaxed collection a strong, tailored edge and helped to reinforce Elbaz’s reputation as what Suzy Menkes called “every woman's darling”.
- Alex Butt