by Gabriel Karanfil
Hot sunshine had bathed the Tuileries
gardens in a golden light by the time the Lanvin show began
on Sunday afternoon. Inside the tent, all was dark, muggy and calm.
The staging was a black cubicle, a wooden plank floor, a simple
curtain that led to backstage. And if you took away the flashes
of paparazzi, the lights of television cameras (Anna Wintour,
Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue looked puzzled as she replied
to a reporter's question "Alber
has so many gifts...."), the flow of fashionista, editors, cameramen, you
would have the quintessence of this collection. Imagine a dressing room,
and a woman trying on piece after piece, each one of them gently following
the contour of her body, and each one of them accentuating her beauty.
There is a highly intimate quality to Alber Elbaz's work for Lanvin, and
you could see it in glistening white chiffon dress adorned simply by a ribbon
bow tie, in the gentle folds of an evening gown that lapped gracefully along
the runway at the model's feet, in the understated elegance of white orchid
appliqué placed against a glistening black suit. The shimmering effect was
that of grace in motion.
A masculine theme - ties, cummerbund style belts, folds of material twisted
to form elaborate bow ties - ironically only accentuated the femininity of
The series of embroidered dresses that punctuated the finale - a bare branch
with bursts of lotus blossoms, a motif of crimson orchids that swirled in an
almost dragon-like motif, spoke in an oriental cadence, one so beautiful and
so French at heart.
Backstage, a long line of the world's most influential editors and
fashionista closed in around Alber. Perspiration had broken out on his brow
as he said by way of explanation for what had just passed down the runway, "Lanvin
That's certainly what the world needs more of, and what is so clearly tested
in the frayed, though tough threads that hold us all together.