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At Lanvin, The Beauty of Simplicity

PARIS, March 5, 2006 - The signature of Alber Elbaz permeated the Lanvin show on Sunday afternoon - a smoky old theater, a crystal chandelier, a giant door that appeared to open to a boudoir, the strains of Gounod's Ave Maria played on a Steinway concert grand piano. For the House of Lanvin at this time and this place, Alber has created a style that works: clothes so intimate and so personal that each piece seems to be made to measure.

The opening set of masterfully cut black dresses offered a glimpse of their creator - no frills, no pretense, just lots of natural sophistication.

The elegance is subtle at times - the graceful cascade of a fur stole worn over a silk cocktail dress, the rustle of nude chiffon wrapped in webs of charcoal, beige, and forest-green gauzy tulle, the evening wear of sensuous tuxedos and sparkling jackets. Oh, so beautiful.

Alber once gave me a ceramic case that he'd picked up somewhere on his travels around the Mediterranean, the top relief of a flying bird being the inspiration for his Fall 2003 collection for Lanvin. I keep my most valued treasures in that case - my Collie's baby teeth and a lock of hair belonging to my alternate heartbeat.

And it's that kind of personal touch that permeates the collections for Lanvin, as if Alber is giving women something unique

Before the show, Pierre Bergé, cofounder of the House of Yves Saint Laurent sat beside Catherine Deneuve. When questioned by a television reporter about what had attracted him to Alber, he offered a straight forward explanation. "Aber is one of the greatest designers of our time, and he knows something about modern women."

The words "French chic" are often used in connection with Alber's clothes. But they can be described even more simply - beautiful clothes for beautiful people. <3


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