On the last day of the fall/winter 2014 menswear season Lanvin's creative director Alber Elbaz and its menswear designer Lucas Ossendrijver produced a dynamic and vibrant show. One that was an exploration in how to create a non linear collection that would answer the building desire among men not to be pigeonholed into just one style of dress.
“Every time we start a show we start with words, what words will inspire us,” said Elbaz who is always ready with a ‘deep thoughts’ sound bite when he is talking about his work. “This time the word was digital, and the words social media and virtual and what do they mean. And what does it mean to be part of a commune and do we have to lose our identity if we belong to a commune? Is there a space for individuality?”
On the Lanvin catwalk the argument was being made loud and proud for sartorial individuality. It might be the brand’s 125th anniversary but there was no looking back on the catwalk today. Evolve or die. And how Ossendrijver did this was by creating a line of clothing that was street and sporty, rebellious with direction but always, always maintaining it luxury core.
At the start of the show, a group of covetable roomy coats and biker jackets came cut in noble fabrics, but were given a defiant edge by brushing fur panels up at the shoulders into faux spikes or adding silver zipper embellishments. They were fresh while crafted in comfortably familiar Lanvin proportions. And then the designer kicked things into high gear. Offering up an abundance of color on everything from a forest green suit worn with a blue mesh print sweater and matching blue sneakers (a favorite look of the American football player Victor Cruz, who was sitting front row) to pink round neck sweaters, red shirts and slim pants worn with a cumberbun-esque band of contrasting color at the waist.
Then Ossendrijver introduced pattern and prints into the mix with graphic black and white pants, embroidered button up shirts and loud skinny ties that made a time machine trip from 1985. The final group of looks, which featured expressionless faces or anonymous hands, added just one more level of intrigue to this multifaceted and envelope pushing show.