by Cathy Horyn • 05 Mar 2016

Last spring in Paris, the Palais Galliera held an exhibition of the fashions of Jeanne Lanvin.

It was curated by Alber Elbaz, the artistic director ofLanvin since 2001, and Olivier Saillard, the Galliera’s director.

Although Lanvin, along with Coco Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet, was a primary architect of modern fashion in the 1910s and '20s, when women designers ruled couture, she was perhaps less famous than her rivals. But many people waiting in line to enter the museum knew Lanvin through Elbaz, and that was enough. He had made Lanvin one of the hottest labels of the new century — largely by ripping out linings and padding.

He loved to take one of his bias-cut or draped dresses in washed silk and ball it up in his hands, as if to show who was boss — the woman and not the garment. But the exhibition also dramatized how deftly Elbaz had woven Jeanne Lanvin’s sensibility into his clothes, in particular her bold use of decoration.

Then, in October, Elbaz was fired. The reasons for the rupture with the company’s principal owner, Taiwan-based Shaw-Lan Wang, remain unclear.

Last night, using its design staff, the house put on its fall show, and, on the whole, the clothes were fine. There were simple knee-length dresses in peach and aqua silk; a one-shoulder ivory dress gathered down a side; a pale-gray tuxedo jacket worn with a matching trumpet skirt; andDynasty-era broad-shouldered blazers.

The trouble was that the collection didn’t look anything like Lanvin — not in the cut, the fit, or the types of fabrics.

Elbaz had a special knack for making clothes look imperfect — say, by leaving the edges unfinished or adding an exaggerated sleeve to a dress while keeping the effect soft, so that you looked modern and ready to roll, and not like Alexis Carrington. And the new clothes didn’t have that quality. If they looked any sort of way, it was average.

Source : nymag



Cathy Horyn

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