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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

#SuzyPFW: Lanvin — Magical Realism

2 Октября 2015


Is there any designer who can see things from a women's point of view better than Lanvin's Alber Elbaz.


"I was thinking about the red carpet and how there was more body than dress," said Alber backstage. So what did he do? Make stretchy corsets to fit snugly under a one-shoulder black dress with slits between the angular drapes.

It was the same story for filling in a triangular silk jersey dress at otherwise naked hips. Academy Awards problem solved. Hey presto!

Lanvin today is all about magical realism. And in this enormous 70-outfit strong show for summer 2016, Alber made simplifying the closet into an art form.
The show started with that Monday morning feeling. Help! Something to wear to work... So there was the perfect white shirt, its collar as small and pointed as its sleeves were big and round. Add high-waisted black pants and you're done.



A few more black jackets, skirts, waistcoats and shirts, and that section segued into dressing up a bit. Yet everything remained feet-on-the-ground, especially boots tidying up a look of tweedy dresses with dangling threads: that high-fashion balance of done and undone.


Those were only two of six different sections of, say, mannish suits with streamlined tailoring, maybe with a lightly veiled bra as a strong woman's defiant gesture.
By the end of the show the designer was witty and whimsical, turning the current passion for accessories (and there were plenty of those) into decorative prints. From perfume bottles to cute yellow and red handbags and shocking pink stilettos, the close of the show was funky and fun.
  


I remain doubtful about the visible corsets under bare-it-all dresses. Wouldn't it be easier to make graceful, cover-up clothes? But I was still impressed by Alber's output. How can one (male) designer get inside a modern woman's head and find as many angles of dress as there were angular pleats?

Alber showed me how. He produced five cards, each with a line up of his drawings of clothes. The outfits all had small pieces of fabric attached, from the cotton of the first white blouse through to the stretchy fabrics of the drape-over-corset dresses to the shapely lace.




The designer explained that working last year on a museum exhibition about founder Jeanne Lanvin and subsequent displays of his own oeuvre, made him think about all the different ideas he has had previously.

I was simply in awe of such imagination and the way Alber turned it all to the advantage of women today.


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