Alber Elbaz is one of the grands. That’s an established axiom nowadays in the fashion world and it seems no matter what he does, it’s always beautiful, wearable and artistic at the same time.
Lanvin for Fall/Winter 2011-2012 is no exception to the wonderful rule of Elbaz, but infused with a rather surprising amount of sobriety and darkness. While there’s always been an edge to the designer’s feminine and romantic pieces, this season that edge seems to have been taken further, to great results.
The first few looks revolved around the same image of shady subversiveness, with oversized coats that left everything to the imagination, hats that covered most of the models’ faces and menswear inspired shoes.
Had we fallen down the rabbit hole and in a world where an Elbaz-esque Lanvin means no femininity?
No, of course not. Gothic air included, the garments didn’t fool anybody: the fabric, the rounded albeit shape-numbing cut, it’s all there, it’s all good.
The collection unravelled into more revealing looks, all marked by the same luxurious air it always does, sprinkled with the power of oversized shoulders and the statement jewellery we’ve come to love.
There was a certain amount of oddity, however, in the Jil Sander-esque pleats on some skirts and dresses. Don’t get me wrong, I love it to bits, it’s just rather… unexpected?
Lovely retro/vintage influence came in the form of polka dots, and somewhat Victorian-inspired rose-printed dresses.
The accessories have all the chances in the world to become must-have items, what with their vintage appearance reflected in envelope purses with very Lanvin-ey straps and details, leather gloves and trompe l’oeil jewellery.
The shoes feature, much like usual, ankle straps (which are, incidentally, a woman’s best friend when she’s in a hurry on heels). Also true to habit is their attractiveness and covetable quality.
The grand finale is an exhilarating parade of the most successful models of the moment, flaunting the designer’s true-to-form greatness in experimenting with shape and volume all for the benefit of the wearer, even in a fabric as difficult (yet so beautiful) as gazar.