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PARIS — Thanks to the pre-collections craze, fashion designers aren’t just burning the midnight oil before runway shows. “We’ll probably be here until 2 a.m.,” Alber Elbaz said last week at Lanvin’s headquarters, as shooting commenced for his pre-fall look book before the clothes left for sales in New York the next morning.

A hands-on sort, Elbaz oversaw every detail, from the dim lighting in the atelier and the Pixel-ized, degradé backdrop to the accessorizing of every look. Elbaz had trepidations about a slim goat-hair scarf tossed over a black chiffon column and asked that it be removed. He preferred the look with a necklace strung with old-fashioned keys, and double-checked the photo as it popped up on a computer monitor.

“The camera always tells the truth,” he said. Asked about the collection, Elbaz said it’s not possible to create “a new length.” Instead, he noted, invention comes from new cuts, fabrications and mixes: “It’s about going back to the essence of design.”

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