French luxury house Lanvin have collaborated with a ballroom group who are named after them: the House of Xclusive Lanvin. In a fashion film set to the strains of Miley Cyrus' new single Midnight Sky, the house's ballroom dancers, alongside Pose actress Indya Moore, perform various traditional ballroom categories: Fashion, Realness, Runway and Performance.
Not to be confused with the ballroom dancing of Strictly, this ballroom culture originated in New York amongst the Black and Latinx queer communities in the eighties - the balls the House of Xclusive Lanvin might attend combine beauty pageant, dance contest, catwalk show and party. Members of different houses compete to give the best catwalk performance: cue conceptual costumes, feats of athleticism e.g. death drops, and extreme glamour. Ballroom culture has been rocketed into the mainstream of late, after the spectacular success of the 2018 American TV show Pose, a drama set in eighties New York's emerging ball scene, with Indya Moore as one of the show's breakout stars.
The short narrative film is called La mère et l'enfant (French for The mother and child), which references both the original Lanvin logo and how the brand's founder Jeanne Lanvin cared for her only daughter, Marguerite. Within ballroom culture, the leaders of each House are called mothers, with other members being known as their children. Given the discrimination, homelessness and rejection many queer people faced (and continue to face), ballroom Houses became de facto families and support systems - and are still doing so, today. Likewise, the exclusion of these communities led them to adopt the names of the brands they admired, claiming glamour, pride and luxury for themselves.
Lanvin's creative director Bruno Sialelli said, 'Seeing the House of Xclusive-Lanvin recalls [Jeanne Lanvin's relationship with her daughter Marguerite] to me. How a “mother” can create a system beyond herself to offer a world to her “children”, to push back limits and protect a space where expression becomes everything, allowing all possibilities. Humbly, I am trying to create that same space in the way I am conceiving my own Lanvin characters. Today, this is the deep notion of motherhood, not etymologically but philosophically.'
Founded in 2013, The House of Xclusive Lanvin formed when two ballroom houses, the Lavish House of Lacroix and the Conceptual House of Evisu merged. Since then, the house has gone from strength to strength, holding numerous titles and boasting 150 members worldwide. Most recently, the house was named The 2017 Supreme Fashion House of the Decade and won the 2019 highest award in the beauty category by overall Mother Dee-Dee and her daughter Erykah. In 2020, five of the houses’ members participated on HBO Max’s Legendary, a competition ballroom TV series where the team finished as runner-up.