As we waited for the Lanvin A/W '11 show to begin this afternoon, the fashion pack (while eating pretzels and drinking white wine) could talk of nothing but the goings on at Dior (the show was earlier today), and of course, who would be John Galliano's successor was much debated. One name that has been bandied about was that of Alber Elbaz, Lanvin's creative director. Elbaz certainly has a track record of creating commercially successful and critically acclaimed collections. He also has the personality to head up one of fashions biggest brands.
The lights went up revealing a tree (I think it was a weeping Willow, but tree identification is not my forte!) silhouetted in a pool of light at the end if the catwalk. To a soothing soundtrack, models prowled past the tree and down the runway wearing a series of short black tunics, trapeze shaped coats, short jackets with A-line skirts, all of them ultra simple, controlled ... and not very Lanvin. Then the music upped tempo and the colour palette warmed up; a pillarbox red coat all clean lines bar the fine metal bars that trimmed the pockets, followed by a tobacco coloured dress, a pale caramel cape, a bronze leather belted shift a one shoulder silk dress cut in a loose triangular shape...all undoubtedly lovely and yet still not particularly the Lanvin we've come to know - where was the flattering draping, the soft femininity?
But we needn't have worried, Elbaz didn’t disappoint his fans; the armies of loyal customers who spend upward of £1000 for his miraculously flattering and womanly dresses – that is. The final section played out like a 'best of Lanvin' collection; heavenly colours - shrimp pink, scarlet, cerise and the softest blush - softly draped and finished off with the trademark exposed zip. Fashion is all about the new but what this collection proved is that even for the 'next big thing' junkies of the fash pack, that old adage 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' sometimes is true.
- Siobhan Mallen in