On Friday, Lanvin showed its first collection in 14 years not designed by the beloved genius Alber Elbaz—the creative director whose talents resurrected a dusty Parisian label and turned it into the global standard-bearer of elegance—who was ousted last year after a dispute with the brand’s primary shareholder. And that collection, everyone agrees, is a freakin disaster.
Robin Givhan, Pulitzer Prize winning critic at the Washington Post:
Let Lanvin’s little lace frock be a lesson that good clothes begin with the raw ingredients, and if the fabric looks flammable and the color is sad and drab, no amount of ruffles or styling can make it better.
The collection from Lanvin — created in-house by a team that took no bow — was a disjointed assemblage of frocks. They were tentative, wan, uninspired and forlorn.
Dan Thawley, writing at The Business of Fashion:
For nearly fifteen years, it was Elbaz’s deft hand that draped, lined, paneled and sculpted those heady textiles with the lightness of jersey and chiffon. His successors would do well to handle the profound legacy they’ve inherited with the dexterity it deserves.
The New York Times’s Vanessa Friedman:
About halfway through the Lanvin show — the brand’s first since it split with its former long-term creative director, Alber Elbaz, the designer who had crafted its contemporary identity — a pall had settled over the room.
Breaking up is always hard to do - but the goodwill was palpable in the audience. With a tighter focus, and a finer finessing of the myriad ideas that filtered through this show, perhaps Lanvin can find its feet again.
But American Vogue’s chief critic Sarah Mower seemed to dislike it so much her review came in the form of just two curt, dispassionate paragraphs, including this withering assessment:
...the clothes seemed to bear little evidence of the sensitive cut, expert fit, and general flourish which Lanvin clothes communicated when Elbaz was in charge. To go forward, the company will need to change more than the venue and the lighting, as it did this season. If it is going to command space in the highly competitive fashion arena, it needs distinctive leadership and soul. Without either, it is hard to see how Lanvin’s high-fashion products can be distinguished from so many labels which populate the general swath of the mid-market.
And vet Cathy Horyn, a critic who never pulls punches if they’re warranted (and whose full review at The Cut I await with baited breath), simply tweeted:
Ouch—but yeah, this looks like the brocade drapes my mom, then a florist and never a tailor, made on her sewing machine ca. 1986. Laura Ashley feels the weight of it.
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Images via Getty