Lanvin: Shine. It’s a noun. It’s a verb. It’s a high-gloss surface,and it’s what the cool kids did in middle school. It’s what we wantfashion to help us do, whether literally or symbolically.

AlberElbaz is happy to oblige. For spring he offered an audacious display ofshine — aggressive, even — one that, for all its gloss and glimmer, hadan intriguing dark side.

But then, it was inspired in part by aphotograph of the brocade-clad women, bride included, at an orthodoxJewish wedding in Jerusalem, their grim visages suggestive of unspokenwoes, “everything shining,” the designer said during a preview, “buttheir eyes.”

He thought, too, about the notion of the clothes asmirrors, to reflect the audience. “But that was just the idea. I alsothought, ‘Let’s also bring back regular clothes. Let’s bring sportswear,let’s celebrate the individual.’” And so he did in a collection thatdazzled, literally and otherwise.

Elbaz offered fabulously chicclothes to suit every womanly inclination: refined, sexy, elegant,butch, relaxed — everything but puerile, as his aesthetic isconsummately adult. Sportswear looks were as casual as a trench over atop and skirt; androgynous tailoring paid clear respect to SaintLaurent, and an elastic-waist jumpsuit both celebrated and mocked itsutilitarian roots. Dresses ranged from flappers to sheaths, to aconstructed slip and even a long, dark number that swung Goth.

Unitingthis tremendous diversity: the endless gloss in a vast array of fabrics— 60 of them — multiple textures of lamés, tweeds, laces, brocades andon and on in a glorious spectrum from earthy golds to the most vibrantjewel tones.

It made for a seriously risky move that could haveflopped — even at the high end, shimmer can come off looking cheap.Rather, it all radiated high luxury. Elbaz may be a gentle presence, buthe is one gutsy designer.

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