Lanvin Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2013 Paris

At the end of the Lanvin show, Alber Elbaz took a few steps onto the catwalk to take a quick bow. But the audience would have none of that. Cheering him on, the designer rethought his timid first attempt and finally strode down the raised runway, bending down to receive a large bouquet of flowers from an ecstatic Shaw-Lan Wang, the brand’s Taiwanese owner.

Last season the designer celebrated his ten years as the house’s artistic director with a stellar show that looked back a bit nostalgically at what defined the brand’s first decade of fashion under the direction of Elbaz. But with this spring/summer 2013 show, the designer’s gaze was firmly directed towards the future.

However, Elbaz didn’t strip away all of the codes he has created for the brand. It was more like he had boiled them down to their purest essence. Giving him a fresh way forward to construct a new sartorial scent for the brand.

It was the aroma of the East, and its minimalist yet sensual beauty that enveloped this show. Elbaz cleverly blended traditional Asian dress, in the form of kimonos and obi belts, with that most classic of occidental attire- the tuxedo. It made for a faultless mélange that emphasized the structural nature of both pieces. Playing with flat planes of fabric, like stiff bow ties holding together the sides of a dress, sharp-shouldered short jackets and angular sleeves; Elbaz carved a razor-sharp road for the brand to follow.

The chi of brand could still be spotted in the used of a single sleeve on dresses, the group of shimmering wide bugle beads covered outfits and two broad column dresses in a iridescent fabric. Each of which featured a faint image of an alabaster nude sculpture of the female form printed as a trompe l’oeil.

The dominant shape of the show was a square. It was if Elbaz had taken a swath of fabric and twisted it and turned it to see how many ways he could make it look original and modern. Some of the most successful efforts were the short jewel hued dresses that finished the show. Wrapped about the body in a single slice of fabric, they were held to the body purely with well placed bows that left skin exposed at the sides. Sexy and slightly severe, those dresses help place this collection at the top of a long list of terrific Lanvin shows.

- Jessica Michault