Oh, how we love Alber Elbaz! When he took his bow, twice, the second time accepting a bouquet of flowers nearly the size of him, guests in the audience couldn’t stop clapping and cheering and he wouldn’t stop waving and blowing kisses. The show had run late, many were getting through on the champagne and macaroons on offer but you couldn’t get mad at Alber, now could you? If someone had handed him over a microphone I’m sure he would have belted out a tune or two. Last season, he celebrated 10 years at Lanvin, last night it was time for a fresh start. And boy, did we get it!
Elbaz is so confident and masterful a designer that he can play with Parisian classics. The opening black tuxedo with its obi belt, the long gilet, tied with a bow, revealing a contrasting white interior or the little black dress, one with a deep v-neckline, another strapless and with white flaps to the side; they were superb and they were sexy. You wear these and you strut. The new doesn’t always have to be singular; minimalist or maximalist and Elbaz proved this with a series of embellished-to-their-last-inch dresses and jumpsuits (Kristen McMenamy walked in one), but the return to the monochromatic black, intersected with white, felt more exciting. A ‘power’ jacket, puffy black shoulders, purple front, big white lapels, over a tight little skirt felt just as right as the simple black satin column dress and gold flat sandals that followed. Body-hugging dresses in black, coffee and stone looked as if Elbaz has draped a piece of fabric on the models, tried a huge bow on their hips or shoulders and sent them off.
The final parade of jewel-toned duchess satin mini dresses in purple and teal and chartreuse, with the models dangling perfume bottle clutches from their hands, some in flats, other in stilettos, was reminiscent of the classic Lanvin finales Elbaz has shown before but this felt more stripped back and easy. Back to the classics, back to basics. That’s a good place to start a new Lanvin decade.