Some people are ready to party like it’s 1999. Or perhaps more accurately 2004, the year “Rich Girl,” the Gwen Stefani anthem that Lanvin’s Bruno Sialelli has been obsessed with since his teens and which is the season’s soundtrack, was released. “I think once you get to a certain age, what happened in your adolescence follows you throughout your life,” said the designer, who at 33 described himself as “not old but not young anymore.”
Shot at the Shangri-La hotel in Paris, the collection film featured a coed cast driving miniature cars and dancing the night away through the corridors of this opulent palace that once belonged to a descendant of Napoléon Bonaparte. British rapper Eve, who was in the original music video, made a cameo appearance.
“How can we anticipate a future so uncertain? The answer doesn’t have to be sharp reality,” Sialelli mused at his home. “The power of fashion is transformation, so we went with fantasy. It felt very radical to do a woman who is very fabulous, very put together.”
And put together she was, in semi-fitted silhouettes that had sharply tailored fronts flowing into roomier volumes. Point in case, a dress with an explosion of marabou feathers on its back.
Sialelli homed in on the spirit of Lanvin’s interbellum heyday, using a “Star Constellation” embroidered motif seen in a Vogue illustration as the basis for this heavily embellished collection. Neo-flapper dresses with crystals forming trompe-l’œil necklaces and swinging hems, or a balloon-sleeved dress constructed from an endless organza ribbon wrapped around the body, were sterling examples of that train of thought.
As for the men, he described them as “MTV heroes,” dressing them in a luxed-up version of turn-of-the-21st-century musician garb, with T-shirt layering, artfully slouchy trousers, and XXL skater sneakers. For dressier types, a velvet lounge suit worn with a quilted overcoat in a cosmic print was also on offer, along with shiny oversize puffers.
Sialelli intended the ensemble to form one fabulous crew, using colorful suiting for her as well as for him; a dash of sparkle through crystals or metallic fabrics, and the Pop Art collages of American painter James Rosenquist to create visual coherence. It worked, bringing these two apparently disparate ensembles together in a believable way.
Since his appointment in 2019, the designer has been steering the house out of choppy waters with a steady hand, and this season was a solid effort. Owner Fosun Fashion Group is hoping to further capitalize on these developments, particularly on the Chinese market, with the late 2020 hire of Shanghai-based Calvin Luo as a consultant, to work with the Paris-based design team on merchandising and product development as well as market and cultural insights.