Lanvin Celebrates 10 Years with New Collection, a Massive Party

Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz sent his clothes down the runway for Paris Fashion Week, showcasing a collection full of peplum skirts, low backs, canary yellows and big fake jewels. The 10th anniversary of the brand, they also sent down archived pieces and followed with what the invitation stated would be “d’une fun party.” The event, held in a Left Bank warehouse, lived up to its promise.

Tilda Swinton, Jessica Alba, Pharell Williams and Dita Von Teese sat front row and were treated to three-tiered cakes, foie gras lollipops, and the requisite copious amounts of champagne. Elbaz was the man-of-the-hour, taking the runway at the end of the show to sing “Que Sera Sera” in dedication of the people who helped him “realize his dream…I love you.”

Here’s the vid of the evening.  So pretty!

Lanvin x H&M Here For a Good Time, Not a Long Time

Following in the footsteps of such designers as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, and Comme des Garcons, Lanvin’s H&M collection went on sale Saturday across the country after months and months of public anticipation. New York Magazine reports that when Lanvin’s artistic director, Alber Elbaz, pulled up to the Fifth Avenue H&M, the line of shoppers had reached 300 in the hours before the store opened, with similar reports across the world. As one of the oldest fashion houses in France, Lanvin’s collection gained much attention, with dresses ranging from $149 to $249, and an extensive array of accessories such as shoes, sunglasses, and jewelry.

If you missed the collection in stores (it reportedly sold out within an hour at most locations), many of the items are popping up on eBay with substantial mark-ups. And if you’re so inclined, start planning now for the release of the next rumored H&M collaboration: Bottega Veneta.

H&M’s Killer Marketing Campaign for Lanvin

Viral isn’t even the word. H&M’s unprecedented marketing campaign for its soon-to-launch collaboration with Lanvin is more like a pandemic. A second image of one of Alber Elbaz’s designs was carefully leaked today, and it’s being embraced, written up, and buzzed about by fashion blogs across the web. The consensus is good. Very good. Not only does the quality look phenomenal, but the feverish anticipation is ramping up H&M’s marketing prowess. What started as anonymous videos on YouTube designed to mislead speculators into believing that Carolina Herrera or Thomas Maier would be designing the capsule line instead of Elbaz has since become a slow trickle of ad images, and they’re generating no shortage of excitement. The fact that news of the line (a video with Natasha Poly that aired on Zet Fashion) broke by way of contestants and bloggers just goes to show that H&M isn’t afraid to use a variety of digital platforms. Now comes news that H&M will hold a fashion show at the Pierre Hotel in NYC on November 18 to premiere the line.

“The opening party for a new H&M unit at the Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, where the collection will go on sale on Nov. 20 ahead of the rest of the world,” will follow just two days after, says Women’s Wear Daily.

Speaking of building buzz, GAP should be taking notes. Macy’s sure is: the department store has announced it will be joining the designer collaboration game. “The first is by Kinder Aggugini, a rising star of the London runways who is practically unknown in the United States, where his clothes are sold only at If in New York and Ikram in Chicago,” says the New York Times. The line will debut in February. It’s only the beginning.

Dresses That Invoke ‘Transformers’

If you’re a fan of The Uniform Project, you’ll love the fact that a number of major designers are focusing their efforts on creating dresses that channel Transformers. From Lanvin to a Rachel Zoe-approved convertible dress by Electric Feathers, there are plenty of transitional frocks to choose from this season. For pre-Spring, Alber Elbaz introduced a collection chock-full of clothing with split personalities. There was “a draped one-piece swimsuit that doubles as a ‘robe de yacht’ with the addition of a mini skirt and turns into a more evening appropriate dress when paired with a knee-length swing skirt,” says Coutorture. And, in addition to items that morphed into something else entirely with the addition or subtraction of a certain layer, Elbaz offered reversible cocktail hour-appropriate styles that “go from basic black sheaths to tulle and ruffle embellished chiffon dresses with one simple zip.” In her Zoe Report for today, Zoe is echoing the same message.

In the latest edition of her consumption-centric newsletter, Zoe spotlights Electric Feathers’s rope dress, which can be worn a number of ways. “It’s simply ba-na-nas,” she says. A close runner-up is American Apparel’s Le Sac Dress, which one can score for over $500 less and can be worn up to seven different ways.

The convertible trend is nothing new. Mandy Coon introduced transformer (dress-to-skirt-to-jacket) styles in her debut collection, while Adam Kimmel did it for men with reversible blazers this fall. And Calypso has been stocking a floor-length dress that calls to mind Electric Feathers’s convertible styles for seasons. But, given the success of The Uniform Project and bigger and grander copycats, it’s as good a time as any to emphasize investment pieces that one can wear and re-wear without getting bored.

Karl Lagerfeld Talks Burkas, Gay Marriage & Anna Wintour

Karl Lagerfeld has been in the news quite a bit this week. First off, photo blogger Tommy Ton spawned rumors that Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz was Chanel’s pick for Lagerfeld’s successor; true to Lagerfeld’s “I’ll die with my boots on” refusal to retire anytime soon, Chanel has since debunked the speculation. Meanwhile, Lagerfeld’s FW10 show for the French fashion house — which he oversees in addition to Fendi and his namesake collection — has caught quite a bit of flak from ecologically minded audiences. For the affair, Lagerfeld flew in a 265-ton glacier from Sweden; not exactly a cool move, considering that while the stunt may have raised awareness of global warming, flying enormous ice blocks over hundreds of miles and holding a massive fashion show in and of itself leaves quite a sizable carbon footprint. But perhaps the most interesting Kaiser news this week is his interview with gay cult film and art icon Bruce LaBruce in the latest issue of Vice; LaBruce begins, “for a faggot it was tantamount to an audience with the Pope!”.

The whole piece is well worth a read but I’ve singled out some gems:

● On his signature shades: “They’re my burka. A burka for a man. I’m a little shortsighted, and people, when they’re shortsighted, they remove their glasses and then they look like cute little dogs who want to be adopted. ”

● One time a journalist asked him to remove his signature shades: “I had an interview once with some German journalist — some horrible, ugly woman. It was in the early days after the communists — maybe a week after — and she wore a yellow sweater that was kind of see-through. She had huge tits and a huge black bra, and she said to me, ‘It’s impolite; remove your glasses.’ I said, ‘Do I ask you to remove your bra?'”

● On his stance against gay marriage: “Yes, I’m against it for a very simple reason: In the 60s they all said we had the right to the difference. And now, suddenly, they want a bourgeois life … And I also believe more in the relationship between mother and child than in that between father and child.”

● On his mother’s stance on homosexuality: “When I was a child I asked my mother what homosexuality was about and she said — and this was 100 years ago in Germany and she was very open-minded — ‘It’s like hair color. It’s nothing. Some people are blond and some people have dark hair. It’s not a subject.’ This was a very healthy attitude.”

● On porn and escorts: “I personally only like high-class escorts. I don’t like sleeping with people I really love. I don’t want to sleep with them because sex cannot last, but affection can last forever. I think this is healthy. And for the way the rich live, this is possible. But the other world, I think they need porn. I also think it’s much more difficult to perform in porn than to fake some emotion on the face as an actor.”

● On fur: “If you cannot afford it, just forget about it. Don’t use it as an investment piece to show people how rich you are. Use it like a cheap knitted thing. It’s like a big stone. Lucky you that you can have a big stone, but if it troubles you financially to have the stone, don’t have the stone.”

● On his relationship with Anna Wintour: “People I’m really friendly with have faxes. Anna Wintour has one. We speak via fax.”

● On his approach to life: “Spinoza said, and I have to translate it into English, ‘Every decision is a final refusal.’ I live with this.”

Photo: Olivier Saillant

4 Fashion Icons Reanimated as Denim-Clad Zombies

Most people have and love at least one pair of jeans, but here are four fashion icons who would only ‘do’ denim over their dead bodies. Illustrator Jonathan Zawada obliged them.

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Donatella Versace Age: 55 Occupation: Chief Designer, Versace

Style Mantra: Versace created a one-off design using recycled denim in celebration of Earth Day, but when it comes to her own personal style, she says, “It’s black slim trousers, a wraparound black top, a leather jacket and heels, always heels.”

Caught Dead Wearing: Complemented by a leather handbag dangling casually from her right humerus, we put Donatella in a midriff- and décolletage-baring denim zip-up over a shredded tank, as well as slim-fi t jeans. Humerus, indeed!

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Alber Elbaz Age: 49 Occupation: Artistic Director, Lanvin

Style Mantra: Even though he designed a capsule collection for Acne jeans two years ago, perennial penguin Elbaz told London’s The Observer in 2007, “I always wear a dinner jacket.” Caught Dead Wearing: So we made sure to keep him in one, albeit a dinner jacket made from denim—offset nicely by matching pants and his trademark oversize bow tie.

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Daphne Guinness: Age: 43 Occupation: Stout Heiress

Style Mantra: The skunk-haired couturier muse once wrote, half-joking, in a column for The Times of London, “All right, I’m going to Topshop. I’m going to close my eyes and ears, and maybe I should have a stiff drink.” Caught Dead Wearing: Nothing screams ready-to-wear louder than a busted pair of overall cutoffs with a floor-length chambray scarf. Plus, the dangling earring on her right matches the dangling ear on her left.

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Valentino Garavani Age: 68 Occupation: Legendary Fashion Designer, Lifelong Tanner

Style Mantra: The sartorial god once described his personal style to us as follows: “In spring and summer, I like light pants with gray, brown or navy jackets. I’m super-classic.” Caught Dead Wearing: With that in mind, we let him keep his tie, but dipped into the casual side of business-casual with thigh-revealing jean shorts and a denim vest accessorized with a smiley-face pin. Viva the dead Valentino!

Style Muse: Lanvin Ete Resort 2010

Resort shows are kind of quirky, no? Usually it’s an all-out runway platform for the designer to show off their true colors, perhaps their more playful side. It’s a time for motifs to be a little more literal, colors exceptionally vibrant, and no-stops fun to be had. And we’re guessing Alber Elbaz didn’t have any shortage of that when visiting Hawaii to inspire Lanvin’s take on resort, as even the ridiculous gaping faces of the faux first-row lineup posted behind the runway showed the real first row, and those subsequently behind, that they were in for a good time.

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Models left the typical runway attitudes backstage before sashaying out under beautifully sunny light, stopping to pose as if it were their first time in front of the Eiffel Tower on a class trip. Their personalities shone and gave the brilliant collection the lift it needed to come to life.

We said this resort collection was inspired by Hawaii, but nary a hibiscus nor tiare were to be seen; instead, a flowing sea of audacious color interpreting both the flora and culture of the country’s most tropical stakes made its appearance. Color is clearly what this collection is about. Hues were vivid, but I wouldn’t say bright. Actual color names were elusive, wavering somewhere around jewel tones, capturing the eye but never making it to the confines of the 96-Crayola box. So many dresses with frills and tucks, you couldn’t help striking cute, girly picture poses from your seat, imagining you were twirling in front of a mirror yourself. An army of accessories by way of tattered fabric flowers, vivid plastic toucan (who can? you can) brooches, and bags that will no doubt make haste on their way to it status polished up every look. A variety of gowns made their way into the mix, combining comfortable shapes and forms with the now archetypal vibrant color palette to create pieces that are bound to be highly coveted but hardly traditional.

Not that there’s anything wrong with tradition — after all this year marks a centennial and twenty since Jeanne Lanvin defied the laws of drapery, and like any great Parisian fete, Lanvin is doing it up in grandeur, all the way down to the party favors. Sure, the energy of 120 years compels an amazing collection, but why stop there? Once that caliber of celebration commences, the guests are going to expect a little more, and resplendent in that role is an entire capsule collection of bright enamel figurines, snow globes, umbrellas (featuring the front-row likenesses of said runway backdrop), and suitcases — a little something for every spot in the hautest of wardrobes.

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Paris Fashion Week: Lanvin

A fierce elegance marched down Alber Elbaz’s runway for Lanvin at Paris Fashion Week. The abandoned railway hanger was the perfect concrete setting, with a vast undone beauty; his women walked in beautiful outwardly seamed dresses, fur shrugs worn as if armor, and beautifully rhinestoned and metallic beaded dresses. One of the highlights of the show was the oversized jewelry — worn in abundance, it added to the overall glamour and gave a modern feel to the collection.

Alber Elbaz Creates Sweet Perfection

Alber Elbaz designs some of the chicest womenswear around, and the Spring 2009 Lanvin collection was no exception. Beautiful one-shouldered voluminous pieces meet über-chic slim trousers and colorful jewel tones. This season is all about appealing to the innermost desires of the feminine spirit. He dresses women as they want to be dressed, and he makes it look easy.