ARTISTIC DIRECTION: Lanvin’s new chief wants to strengthen its ties with the art world.

In a private presentation on Monday at its men’s flagship in Paris, Nicolas Druz, chief executive officer of Lanvin, displayed a sculpture attributed to Constantin Brâncuși, which he said dated from 1905 and was the earliest known example of the artist’s series of The Kiss sculptures.

“It’s a return to the DNA of Jeanne Lanvin,” Druz, who returned to the brand over the summer as part of a management reshuffle, told WWD. “We need to link Lanvin with art. We are developing a street art project as well.”

The executive believes the Brâncuși sculpture, whose authenticity has been contested, is one of the founding works of contemporary art. Among the guests was Thierry Rayer, a researcher who has delved into the sculpture’s meaning from the point of view of science, mathematics, Egyptology and Freemasonry, among others.

Druz said the brand would be producing a book of photographs of the sculpture and other works drawn from Rayer’s private collection. It also plans to design numbered T-shirts featuring the art work that will be auctioned off to benefit Secours Populaire, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty in France.

Explaining the vision behind the initiative, which marks a new direction for the French fashion house under majority owner Shaw-Lan Wang, Druz criticized the fashion system’s emphasis on novelty.

“To me, sincere art is making a man elegant and a woman beautiful,” he said. “But it has to be comfortable and reflect the times too, not transform people into freaks. I think people are getting sick of that. We value the notions of comfort and luxury. If you need to show something new four times a year, that’s excessive.”

Drawing a comparison with Yves Saint Laurent’s designs, inspired by artists like Piet Mondrian, Druz said Lanvin would be incorporating art into its clothing collections going forward.

“We are going to try to show that a luxury house is not just [based on] marketing,” the executive said. “We are the world’s oldest couture house. We would like to start from there, but also look to the future.”

Referring to the debut women’s ready-to-wear collection by creative director Olivier Lapidus, shown in September to tepid reviews, Druz was defiantly upbeat.

“Nobody realized how ambitious we were in producing an entire collection in 42 days in the middle of August,” he said. “I think we restored everyone’s pride, because we were capable of creating 60 pieces in 42 days. Nobody in the world is capable of doing that.”

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