Fashion is a misunderstood subject for the mere fact that linguists and philosophers, try as they might, cannot define it. It’s as multi-layered as one of Lanvin’s tartan ruffle skirts for Fall/Winter 2014. The one thing that affects fashion the most is the passage of time.
Any incremental lapse affects its power. Over time, fashion is eroded, it is rebuilt, it is suffocated, it is restored. Trends cycle so tightly that we’ve come to accept the influence of the multiple decades, icons, and art movements in a single season. Everything is in, everything is out. Fashion is a paradox unto itself. No designer seems more keyed into the multiple personalities of fashion than Alber Elbaz of Lanvin. Within the larger scope of fashion over time, he understands that it is the woman that is the paramount factor, not the garment itself. He has no problem twisting, manipulating, and evolving fashion to suit the woman who buys Lanvin, and thankfully, not the other way around. For this season, he presents a collection that features a Triple X factor: Xtravagance, Xtremism, and Xperimentation. His penumbral looks cast a maudlin mood, with models hidden in the shadows of expressive headgear topped with marabou feathers. His clothes feature ravished hemlines, torn sleeves, and disintegrating tweeds, and are presented in a style that is grunge-adjacent. At times, his vinyl dresses and deconstructed looks felt malevolent, but they were balanced by soft-knit dresses, silk tunics, and cozy furs. Elbaz begins to toy with an Edwardian silhouette, softening its lines with silk gazar fabric and a tucked-under waist that sat low at the hips. For all its prettiness, the look was sinister, shrouded in funereal hats. For evening, Lanvin went fully luxe, abandoning previous notions of déshabillé dress. With fitted sleeveless dresses flaring into full skirts, fringe-and-feather frocks, and a breathtaking duchesse satin slipdress in midnight blue, Elbaz asserts a notion of fierce femininity. By the end, feelings of desire war with humble feelings of respect. This was an existential collection, perfect in delivery and in meaning. We need not fear the passage of time in fashion as long Elbaz is looking out for us.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway