Holy comic collaborations! Hot on the heels of Balenciaga’s link-up with “The Simpsons,” Lanvin has partnered with DC Comics on its coed spring collection.
Artistic director Bruno Sialelli was thinking about how to update the codes of the house for the Roaring ’20s 2.0. “We were trying to express Art Deco through a different prism, and we thought of Gotham City,” he said backstage before the show.
He took the theme quite literally, plastering oversize images of Batman, Robin and Catwoman on everything from men’s suit jackets to holographic tops and silver mesh party dresses. Sialelli said he had in mind a “glamorous, catty woman — something a little poisonous, a little moody and sexy, maybe.”
But he seemed to bypass entirely the fetish aspect of the Catwoman persona, opting instead for pastel draped baby-doll dresses with graphic bra underwiring, tutu-like skirts with geometric sequins, and flapper-style chiffon dresses, including a striking silver sequined slip worn by veteran model Carmen Kass.
Likewise, his modern-day take on the Caped Crusader ditched Bruce Wayne’s tuxedo jacket in favor of a cartoonish wardrobe, filled with daisy-print coats, oversize Lurex cardigans and an upscale purple leather Batman homage trenchcoat. There were some real bloopers, too, like a silver Tinselman costume that was as peculiar as it sounds.
Sialelli has always had a kooky streak, and it’s not the first time he’s incorporated comic art into his designs. But his “remixed” take on the Lanvin DNA lacked focus: here, a draped dress with a raw hem in tribute to Alber Elbaz, the late designer who put the house back on the map. There, a Batmobile-shaped clutch.
Broadcasting a clear identity for the Fosun-owned brand is key as it moves ahead with its turnaround plan, which includes the recent renovation of its flagship in Paris, and plans to double the share of accessories to account for 50 percent of sales.
“There’s a mix of references that feels new, and I think that’s the playground of a creative person these days: to combine things that feel new when put together. The saying goes that what’s new is what hasn’t been seen in a while,” the designer explained. “It’s both moody and very playful, joyful, light and immediate. The Roaring ’20s to me is all about youth.”
Ironic, then, that the highlight of the show was the appearance of another icon of the supermodel era, Naomi Campbell, who swept through the colonnaded entrance of the Salle Pleyel concert hall in a sequin-embellished tuxedo and ruffled cape. You could practically hear her purr.