Variety Is the Spice – Alber Elbaz, Sonia Rykiel, Antonio Marras, Cacharel and Martin Margiela
Paris fashion this season is a creature of considerable variety. Alber Elbaz, for example, combined moody sophistication with volume for an exquisite Lanvin collection…Sonia Rykiel’s rollicking show featured peppy knits and flower...
Lanvin: Anyone who is searching out that elusive Parisian je ne sais quoi need look no further than the house of Lanvin. Alber Elbaz knows what, and if he could bottle the esprit of his exquisite spring collection, he’d be a gazillionaire. Jeanne Lanvin, the label’s namesake, did just that in 1925, when she launched her first perfume, My Sin. But while he plays off the moody sophistication of that heritage, Elbaz also does clothes there that are thoroughly his own. They’re of the moment, but full of character, like clothes with a backstory.
Elbaz’s main message was one of pumped-up volume, and though inflating their cuts is the way other designers have pushed the boundaries and been burned, with a little pouf here and a little puff there, Elbaz’s vision looked tantalizing. On top, he proposed a featherweight mock parka or a jacket cinched at the waist. Meanwhile, he tinkered with a variety of ample skirt silhouettes — from full circle skirts to those shaped like an upside-down champagne flute — because there are a multitude of ways to dress beautifully chez Lanvin. The original Lanvin once described her craft as a way to “contribute to the spell of femininity.” Come spring, Elbaz’s devoted clientele are sure to think they’ve died and gone to party-dress heaven. His were some of the best of the week, and included intricately sculpted, pleated dresses perfect for any goddess in training and those done in a loose, vaguely Twenties style.
Throughout it all, Elbaz maintained the luxe, the romance and the mysterious chic he’s brought to the brand. Madame Jeanne would have been proud.
Sonia Rykiel: With barefoot models flooding the runway in a love-fest finale, Sonia Rykiel capped a rollicking show that drew on peppy striped knits, frilly dresses and ethnic trimmings, from golden coins embroidered onto sweaters to tassels on knits. Hippie rainbows turned up on the busts of sweaters, while there was flower power in the prints on pretty chiffon dresses. But Rykiel also applied sequins to her signature black sweaters — one emblazoned with “Legend,” another with a skull — and added fluffy feathers to handkerchief skirts. It was upbeat and even a family affair: Three of Rykiel’s granddaughters joined the designer when she came out for a bow.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"