Alber Elbaz insists that he knows a dress is working when he looks into a model’s face and sees the face, not the dress. There were faces aplenty in his show tonight: Amber Valletta, Kirsten Owen, Violetta Sanchez, Natasa Vojnovic, and more—iconic names for those who follow models like others pledge themselves to their favorite bands. And, said Elbaz, they didn’t need nearly the makeup of their younger compadres on the catwalk. Experience is apparently the best maquillage.
That late-breaking bulletin fitted very well with a show that celebrated the 125th anniversary of the house of Lanvin. Inevitably, such a milestone put Elbaz in mind of the passage of time: from Jeanne Lanvin’s own career as the first lifestyle designer, to the women who’d walked for Elbaz’s shows over the years, to the looks he’d created for them. Prepping himself, he sat in cafés watching the world pass by and came to the provocative conclusion that, while designers busily design their days away, women in the streets couldn’t care less. All or nothing—that was Elbaz’s starting point for his new collection.