Lanvin is much adored for its female-flattering looks. At the entrance of the show on Sunday, as I watched the editors come in, I was strangely reminded of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. No one was in drag mind you (although the Paris Vogue editors certainly can work a bondage look!), but it was more that cult feeling. Women come to the Lanvin show knowing all the words to the song and knowing they will like what they hear.
Of course fashion must be new every season, but you can get away with being less new when you know how to cut a dress like Alber Elbaz.
A retailer friend tells me that Lanvin (which is sold in Chicago at several large department stores—plus Ikram, Neapolitan, and Barneys, to name just a few), is her best seller. Why is this so? The Lanvin DNA consists of pearls and ribbons and velvet—materials that can be very good (or very, very bad, depending on who is using them)—but the cuts are full of dignity, and accessible to various body types. How many tight leather leggings did I see on the runway this week? Too many.
A notable moment of the show was when three models walked consecutively in bright, leopard patterned dresses. Suddenly after that, things got very, very colorful (this included some fantastic shoes that looked like they were covered in Lite-Brite pegs). It was Elbaz throwing some spice into the pot, Emeril style. There was a touching burst of applause from the audience.
Timeless looks, a positive attitude about women and their various shapes, and the dignity that comes with that—these are the things will ensure that Lanvin sells like hotcakes even as the economy tanks. And also that women will feel as good as the disco music Elbaz always favors for his finale.