”Style is the only thing you can’t buy. It’s not in a shopping bag, a label, or a price tag. It’s something reflected from our soul to the outside world. An emotion.” – Alber Elbaz
Iconic, utterly charming and cheeky more often than not; a few words that come to mind when one thinks of Alber Elbaz and his work at the creative helm of Lanvin. As the bespectacled, bow-tied designer rings in a decade of being artistic director of the high fashion house, fashion addicts worldwide unite in celebrating 10 years of sartorial decadence.
Elbaz’s debut F/W 2002 collection for Lanvin featured luxurious outerwear in earthy stones and deep aubergines, midi-length dresses with raw hems and fur and leather aplenty. The collection was a bold departure from the feminine pastel minis we saw from the house’s S/S 2001 collection. This new look was less polished and created an almost undone aesthetic that we’ve come to look forward to from Elbaz.
2005 marked a particularly successful year for Elbaz, winning the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted International Designer Award. This was off the back of two successful ’05 showings; A/W featured electric purples, rich teals and the sunniest of yellows, while S/S proved to be monochrome magic spiced with warm reds and burgundies. Taking a step away from the separates on show in 02, Lanvin was now a true luxury eveningwear brand.
Lanvin’s S/S 2008 collection is arguably Alber Elbaz’s most critically acclaimed collections to date, heralded as one of the very best shows of the season and remaining as influential today as it was on the day of its debut. The collection was uplifting, dramatic and exciting; a hypnotic concoction of goddess-esque draping, billowing pleats and airborne trains. It was an explosion of colour, with chiffon sheaths and embellished pieces in magentas, corals, greens and citrons. Lanvin S/S 2008 is still lauded today as a sartorial representation of Elbaz himself; a true joy.
In 2010, Elbaz turned the high-fashion/high-street collaboration trend on its head. Rather than designing a line to bring Lanvin ‘down’ to a mass market, Elbaz translated his luxury designs to a wider audience. “’I have said in the past that I would never do a mass-market collection,” Elbaz said, “but what intrigued me was the idea of H&M going luxury rather than Lanvin going public.” The ensuing collection succeeded in bringing luxury to the masses with Lanvin’s signature weightless draping and elegant silhouettes resonating throughout the entire look book.
The future looks bright for Alber Elbaz. After the launch of Lanvin’s first ever children’s line in June of this year and the March release of his first book (a limited edition monograph described as ‘short and fat, like me!’ by Elbaz himself), it appears that Alber Elbaz and Lanvin will continue leaping from strength to strength. After revitalising the Lanvin luxury a decade ago, one can only hope Elbaz will continue to pleasantly surprise and charm us another decade from now.
All images courtesy of Style.com