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06/03/2015

Paris Fashion Week AW15 show report

(Photo:MarieAustralia)

The first Paris exhibition dedicated to the French couturier Jeanne Lanvin opens this week at the Palais Galliera. It tells the story of the extraordinary Mademoiselle (Melle Jeanne), a former milliner who established her first shop in 1885, launched a childrenswear and womenswear in 1908 and a best-selling perfume, Arpège, in 1927.

One of fashion’s first superwomen, her business was largely inspired by her only daughter Marguerite (the inseparable mother and daughter are still depicted in the house’s signature logo) and the exhibition has been designed to make people fall in love once more with the couturier. Fair enough: it would seem most unsisterly to snub someone who built their house on the foundation of maternal devotion (and savvy business acumen).

Created in close association with the house’s incumbent artistic director Alber Elbaz, who has led Lanvin since 2001, the exhibition had inspired Elbaz to go back to his roots in Morocco and to tell a story of “urban travel”.

The show opened gently: a pair of equestrian-style trousers with a tasselled belt and flashing red stripes down the side, worn tucked into stack-heeled boots and paired with a white top and navy jacket. The line was sharper than usual and more pulled together. Similar looks followed — graphic tops and skirts, robe coats and simple jersey dresses cinched with asymmetric harness belts that snaked around the bust and shoulder. Then more layers were added: a 1970s-style fedora hat sliced away on one side, fur and fringing, long black gloves, passementerie belts and more tassels.

Then came the haute hippies, a clutch of chiffon-clad, shearling-snuggled Bohemians in metallic spun gowns that fell to the floor, Berber striped separates, golden silks, patchwork furs and python. From a palette of mostly black, there came a flash of autumnal colour — tonal reds, butter yellow, pale blues and ochre.

And then it all went quiet again. The final looks recalled the same austerity of the first though now embellished with red embroidery and sequin florals and flushed with pitch-black velvet.

It was an idiosyncratic collection, or as Elbaz described it “an endless game of contrasts”, and felt almost episodic in its unveiling. But although it took a meandering tour through many different landscapes, it told a familiar story: here were wearable clothes for real women. With tassels on, too.Read more at:cocktail dresses

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