Lanvin S/S 2016

This is what Paris men’s wear looks right now

How do you make a collection that really captures an audience’s imagination, in the midst of a men’s fashion season, which began in London on June 13 and will end in NYC in mid-July? We’re talking about several hundred shows and even more presentations. Well, Lanvin certainly worked out how with a dashing yet poetic show Sunday morning, before the great and the merely good of the men’s wear industry.

Authorative but oh so cool coat Lanvin
Authorative but oh so cool coat

Staged with consummate skill in the Beaux Arts, the collection was unquestionably the most Parisian in mood of any show this past weekend. Somewhat bizarrely, as neither of the house’s two designers – Alber Elbaz and Lucas Ossendrijver – are French. The former is Israel, the latter Dutch.

By Parisian we mean polished, proud, rocking with an arty sensibility and rippling with panache, which this collection did throughout. Take the russet-hued silk redingote, which thanks to its elbow ties, divine cut and styling – it was paired with skinny mesh top and flawless violet pants – became not just a clever coat but a killer look. Or consider the splendid silhouette of a cobalt blue suit, worn with a skimpy low neck T-Shirt; or the superb, belted policeman’s trench anchored by one of many excellent multi Velcro strap high-tops. All worn by a cast of models who walked out of a lighting gantry that looked like scores of bullets of light. What gal, or guy, could resist them?

Lanvin’s new Parisian silhouette Lanvin
Lanvin’s new Parisian silhouette

“Rapidity and the world of today. How to be relevant in a digital world. How do you keep people’s attention, even for seven minutes, when they are doing this?” shrugged Alber Elbaz, aping with his hands and fingers someone busy sending an Instagram.

 

Hence, the show came out in something of a surprising jumble. The line up was not the usual format of looks – morning, office, soirée and party. But a mash-up of tailoring, then military, then leather, then silk. Since it showed up on the Lanvin runway, it’s now an official trend, the boxy and elongated jacket that seems to be the new silhouette.

 

A low hanging T-shirt anchors the jacket Lanvin
A low hanging T-shirt anchors the jacket

Fashion week is no longer a fashion week, but a fashion month, even a fashion year, Elbaz continued and what shows lacked was a little happiness, joie de vivre and individualism, which this performance by Lanvin had in abundance.