- Text Alex James Taylor
- 6th March 2017
For Lanvin’s FW17 show – Bouchra Jarrar’s sophomore collection as women’s artistic director – guests filtered in to Paris’ historic Hôtel de Ville, beneath the building’s majestic Renaissance painted ceiling and chandeliers. A symbol of Paris’ grandeur on par with the storied fashion house.
“It is an intertwining of emotions, poetry, daring and liberty,” Jarrar said of the collection. Having only joined Lanvin in March last year, it’s clear the French designer has already devoured the archives. Quick history lesson: Jeanne Lanvin’s biggest source of inspiration was her only daughter Marguerite, designing ensembles for Marguerite to wear, Mlle Lanvin’s style captured the femininity and energy of youth via intricate embellishments and her signature robe de style silhouettes – a fitted body-hugging waist with a long, full skirt – a progressive shape in early-1900’s Paris.
Here was Jarrar’s own ode to the next gen, epitomised by the opening models Vittoria Ceretti and Bella Hadid, the billboard faces of 2017 youth. The founder’s influence was present throughout, from the luxe fur collars and capes that draped across model’s shoulders to the mix of feminine and masculine shapes (rewind to 1926 when Jeanne Lanvin introduced a menswear line, the first couturier to dress the entire family): leather moto jackets came adorned with voluminous feathered collars – a calling card of Jarrar’s – satin wrap-a-rounds alongside leather suiting and delicate see-through lace shirts revealing bare skin beneath. And coucou, Jeanne, your trademark Lanvin blue was present via delicate feather brooches, flowing wide-leg trousers and leather ankle boots.
Coral-esque ruffles (à la Seinfeld’s puffy shirt) bubbled across sleeveless shirts and in one instance from beneath a rich navy velvet blazer. Paired with straight leather trousers, fishnets, slips and an oversized feather pin, it was very Prince meets Jane Birkin. From the Purple One to Mr Rhinestone Cowboy Gram Parsons, one killer white tailored pantsuit with strokes of red chinoiserie-inspired embroidery was totally reminiscent of the country-musician’s epic marijuana plant and poppy Nudie Cohn-designed look, only with added ooh la la soigné.
There was also a sense of 1930s Old Hollywood in there (much akin to the cinematic setting). You could totally imagine Audrey Hepburn in that powder pink robe de style ballerina dress, or Elizabeth Taylor donning one of the many draped silk numbers to attend a typically riotous party thrown by Baron Guy de Rothschild – no doubt in his once fabulous Hôtel Lambert residence, a short gondola ride across the Seine from this season’s Lanvin showspace.