No matter how poised and refined the typical Lanvin wearer may be, and no matter how simple the garment may seem, Alber Elbaz always finds a way to throw a sense of whimsy in to the mix. It is a kooky, off kilter elegance – as if Audrey Hepburn has been tossed into a tornado and we are viewing the result. A little black dress is never just a little black dress, a coat is never just a coat, and in the case of this Pre-Fall collection, a suit is never just a suit.
After the glitter and metallic 80’s glam of the spring collection, this new presentation is a return to the ladylike sensibility that the modern-day incarnation of the house is known for. As usual, oversized is a major component to the collection from all aspects, right down to the large buttons, pockets and bows that adorn the jackets. Deep reds and green along with gold add a splash to an otherwise sedate color palate, while the Art Deco-esque accessories are a nice nod to the beginnings of the house.
For the most part, Alber is doing what he knows he does best, which is strong, albeit a little safe. The only real design risk taken is in the tapered, cuffed pant legs of various fabrics. Though an odd detail choice, they are pulled off in part due to the length of the cuff itself being just right. Any longer, and it would give the silhouette a stubby proportion. Any shorter, and the pants would look like gym attire.
So what can we come to expect for Fall/Winter from the house of Lanvin? Does this collection give any hints? Probably not, as the last three retail seasons have been thematically different. Resort was dreamy and feminine, Spring was disco fever-dream. Alber has given a fine collection for Pre-Fall, but perhaps there are some showstoppers to look forward to just around the corner.