If all’s well that ends well, Alber Elbaz’s spring show for Lanvinwould have been a blockbuster. He closed with a lineup of little satinshifts — each in different vibrant colors coming and going — the twojoined by surprise side panels of flashy beaded embroideries. The effectwas chic and young, a modern kind of sexy for a woman who likes to looklike she didn’t try too hard to look amazing, her pretense secured by aremarkably crafted dress.


That, according to Elbaz, is the essence of design. “What isdesign anyway? What is the definition of design?” he waxed philosophicduring a preview. “I think it’s how to translate or not translate, howto transform one dimension to three dimensions, to take a piece of flatfabric and give it a shape. You do it with darts, you do it with volume,you do it with drape. That, for me, is the work of design.”

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