Tropical dream

Lanvin’s SS22 show was inspired by The Beach – ft. Pure Shores soundtrack
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 23 June 2021

Few sounds are as escapist as the dreamy intro of All Saints’ Pure Shores. As those rippling chords filtered into Lanvin’s SS22 film, we were instantly there on that Thai beach with Leo and co.  The same was true for model Alyda Grace, the protagonist in this story. We begin with her backstage before a fashion show getting ready, being pulled this way and that by the crew. Wearing rose-tinted butterfly wing sunglasses, when she looks down at her phone, all is suddenly better as she’s instantly transported to a tropical island vacation populated by models wearing Sialelli’s SS22 collection (plus some resort).

Moving through time as well as space, the collection journeys into “memories of the 1990s – a formative period of modern fashion – and to the archives of Lanvin,” said the press release. For Sialelli, the 90s mean MTV, they mean Paris Hilton, who he recently recruited to front the Lanvin SS21 campaign, and it means Gwen Stefani, whose track Rich Girl was satired by the Italian designer for FW21. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t get much more 90s than Danny Boyle’s sensual gap-year thriller The Beach (despite its 2000 release). This era surged throughout the collection, cast in vivid effervescent shades reminiscent of the MTV logo itself, while oversized cuts hark back to the 90s baggy trend. Bustiers and miniskirts for the girls, wide-leg pants and slides for the lads. Scuba jerseys gave the feel of surfers looking for a wave, while a classic ‘JL’ brand monogram was plucked from the 70s and reworked as a  trippy 3-D geometric pattern that messes with the eyes.

Never willing to just stick to one epoch, Sialelli then diverted us through the 60s, referencing “the glamour of travel in the past, the aspirational style dubbed the ‘jet-set’, the notion of travel as an indulgence, an extravagance, an occasion.” Truman Capote’s coterie of high society swans were referenced, as were Lanvin’s own, embodying the romantic, youthful spirit for which the house is built upon. Archival fabrics were revisited in pastel shades warped to give the effect of being bleached by the blistering sun, while micro-florals were borrowed from the era alongside couture shapes evoking the work of Spanish costume designer Antonio Castillo, who was invited by Jeanne Lanvin’s daughter to become head designer following the death of her mother in 1946.

“Alyda”… “Wake up”…”Wake up”… as the model opened her eyes, all was a dream as reality brought her back to the fashion week commotion – now if only we could sympathise with that feeling.

GALLERYCatwalk looks from this show