Thursday September 27, 2012 – Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris
There must be something in the water in Paris because it seems that a slew of designers have all been afflicted with a strong case of nostalgia. Take Alber Elbaz’s Spring 2013 show, which showed all the tell-tale signs of a yearning for the past, with its strongly defined 90’s shoulder silhouettes, YSL smoking jackets and classic Japonismse kimono belting.
There was a bit of irony in the juxtaposition between showing at the École des Beaux Arts, with its sculptured marble statues perched high above the stadium-high ceilings, and Elbaz’s collection of square shouldered jackets and box-shaped printed tunics. But given his whimsical nature, it should’t surprise many. What was a surprise however was his break from beautiful one-shoulder dress-draping and experimenting with a variety of new materials and techniques. Take for example his opening look, a cleavage baring black cotton jumper with a cropped silk lapel smoking jacket, cinched at the waist with a faded wood-grain textured belt. This foreign departure from his usual one-piece dress repertoire was a welcome shakeup of the usual fare. And the timing could not be better either; after celebrating his 10 years at the famed fashion house, Alber might’ve felt compelled to break from the cycle of the house codes and opt for something new and different.
Black cotton or leather jumper looks with kimono-belt fastened waistlines, while exquisitely done, felt a bit too literal in their references to YSL though an asymmetrical bathing suit number with a pair of ankle-cropped trousers looked absolutely stunning. But there were quibbles to be had with the belting on certain dresses which, while appearing to have been integrated as deconstructed seams across busts and waistlines, looked a bit sloppy and having been integrated as an afterthought. But his fortés lied with his jackets. especially a perfecto with a white lapel inset and a sharp black-grey fabric division at the sleeves that accentuated the length of the torso and had a sublime slimming effect.
Sleeveless Venus de Milo silk prints on boxy tunics with gold-plated choker necklaces were humorously playful, though that moment was quickly replaced by severely embellished numbers. Geometric hardware in metallic gold and shiny black stone varieties were intricately stitched across the fabrics of taffeta jackets, jumpers, pants, and dresses that, despite its decorative qualities, felt a little-bit ‘kitchsy’ and not unlike something that one’s mother might’ve worn to Studio 54 in her disco-heyday. It seems that in Elbaz’s haste to make these highly ornamental looks, he might have also neglected to take into account about how one could comfortably sit on chair with them on, but that might be resolved prior to production.
The final series of looks were done in variety of neutrals, muted turquoises, mustards, violets, burgundies and greens evolved the belting theme into ribboning, along shoulders and hips. Taking a step back at the collection does offer a bit of perspective about the direction where Lanvin has been and where it is heading. Given his time at YSL many moons ago and the location choice (Beaux-Arts was a favorite of Yves), Alber may be trying to cash in on the attention being focused on Hedi Slimane as he unveils his first Saint Laurent collection. Thunder-stealing? Perhaps a bit, but when done as well as Elbaz has demonstrated, one can’t complain too much either.
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Lanvin Spring 2013 Video
See all the photos below:
Photos and Video courtesy of Stylerumor.com
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