When Jeanne Lanvin started her fashion empire in 1889 at the young age of 22, she undoubtedly created the business model that any fashion conglomerate worth its salt would aspire to today. She outfitted men, women and children in everything from furs to hats to wedding gowns and sportswear, went on to create fragrances for both sexes and open stores in Paris all with measureable degrees of success. But, even after Lanvin gained Couture House status in 1909, amongst the intricate embroidery and bead work of her more grandiose designs she did what most high fashion houses to this day neglect to do; she never forgot to incorporate clothing that women could actually live in and feel good while wearing it.
It’s the same spirit with which Israeli designer Albar Elbaz, who became design director in 2001 after honing his skills at Geoffrey Beene and YSL, designs with some 119 years later. Lanvin’s name is synonymous with “wearable, simple and feminine clothing” that has real women clamoring at retail and fashion editors cooing over the beautiful drape of his creations as a jeweler would examining a flawless diamond for the four C’s. He received a standing ovation for his Spring/Summer ’08 line that highlighted the wonders of the female form in a thrilling color palette and billowy silhouettes. This fall Lanvin makes black look interesting (no easy feat after seasons of eye popping color as the runway norm) and has us dreaming of shiny little baubles, intricate pleats, fierce fur and leather.
Mr. Elbaz’s talent goes far beyond the technicalities of design, as his humble spirit and true love for his customer always shines through his work. He told Bazaar “I am not coming from a rich family,I was not in boarding school in Switzerland, and my mother did not wear Balenciaga when she was young. I am coming from the edge of the edge of the middle, so I understand what it is. I remember my time there as well. And I think it’s made me what I am today.” He goes on “My job is to make women beautiful.” This may account for why women actually seem more like they’re floating than walking when they wear Lanvin and why icons like Kate Moss can always count on wearing the label in order to make a fashionable impression.
Spring 2008 LANVIN Paris
Fall 2008 LANVIN Paris
For more information on LAVIN Paris please visit www.lanvin.com