Alber Elbaz cued a slide show of the 85-look pre-fall collection he designed for Lanvin, letting the images flash on a computer screen and offering only minimal commentary. “Forty-six looks are for day,” he noted, repeating the number as if to wave off accusations he does mainly cocktail dresses. His tactic, light on spiel, was apropos for a season approached without a deliberate theme or particular reference. “Even in the studio, I didn’t let them work on a story,” Elbaz said.
Instead, his mantra seemed to be: Give pieces a chance. “All the pieces people are looking for — a coat for the weekend, a dress for traveling, a pair of pants, high-heeled shoes that you can walk in,” he said in Lanvin’s headquarters, where mirrors were installed for a photo shoot.
Uniting them all was Elbaz’s inimitable draping, luxe fabrics and the soigné allure that he’s made the watchword of the Paris house. Most looks were cut generously: a slouchy Prince of Wales top, an ample belted trenchcoat in a bold men’s wear check — a pattern repeated across daytime pieces, including skirts that resembled gathered blankets. Rich floral brocades looked familiar, in a peony-patterned cinched-waist shift, and dramatic, in a voluminous opera-coat-inspired dress covered in parrot tulips. Elbaz’s footwear choices were equally striking: jewelled leather sneakers with the former and cone-heeled black-leather and gold-snakeskin boots with the latter. He also showed a plethora of statement outerwear, including a short coat in a patchwork of textured pastel furs and a trim toggle style in gold leaf that glowed.