On Thursday night designer Alber Elbaz presented a scattershot show with a collection of clothing that was all over the place.
However, there was a method to his sartorial madness. Every disconnected concept was presented in a vignette to better frame the underlying impulse of each group and to make the lineup easier for mass consumption comprehension. The venue too was tightened up to focus the audience's attention. The house lowered the guests’ perspective by covering the ornate high ceilings of the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts venue. It also added a light box backdrop that spelled out the brand's name in bright lights and incorporated hanging hook chains from the ceiling, perhaps to make a subtle reference to the free-flowing ribbons, fraying and loose threads that embellished a number of Elbaz's creations.
To a hard rocking beat the designer opened the show with a toughened-up take on classic Lanvin looks in black and white. Then he broke into jewel-hued, bejeweled bow-embellished dresses that wrapped over skin tone bustier bodices. The effect being an illusion of exposed skin. These designs looked like descendants of the faux dress-fronted outfits Elbaz created close to a decade ago.
Then came the all-over sequins section and the final whimsical hand-drawn prints of Lanvin handbags, shoe and perfume bottles as well as a final single exaggerated ruffle shoulder statement dress with the word Lanvin scrawled all over it. These two groups were clearly created for visual "I'm ready for my Instagram close-up” effect. They also, especially the prints, smacked of a marketing ploy or something a brand license partner might produce in some far-flung country for local consumption.
There was no denying the designer's impressive talents as a tailor or a master of flou. That was clear in every sleeveless slim and sleek suit and fluid silk shift dress. But in a collection that counted 68 looks, it almost felt as if Elbaz was trying to make everyone happy, except perhaps himself.