LANVIN UNVEILS FW22 WOMEN’S AND MEN’S COLLECTION
The illusion of fashion, the physicality of craft. The Lanvin Fall/Winter 2022 collection by Bruno Sialelli is a celebration of the paradox and contradiction of fashion, and of the contrasting themes that energized the work of Jeanne Lanvin. Plays of opacity and transparency, of hard and soft, of nostalgia and modernism – of a house both distinctly Parisian, yet with a universal outlook. This collection is a reflection of Lanvin’s heritage – yet, with all reflections, it is refracted, reinvented, itself an illusion – a modern reconfiguration of the codes of Jeanne Lanvin.
Cinema is an illusion: smoke and mirrors, chiaroscuro and mirage. The glamour of Hollywood was the first augmented reality, a means to escape. Drawing inspiration from the cinematic boom of the interwar years – a period of creative prowess and growth for the maison – the collection is unveiled via a film short referent to classic Film Noir, filled with reflections and echoes, darkness and light.
Silhouettes are narrow, shoulders emphatic with a tailored swagger, applied to coats and jumpsuits but also loaned to soft dresses – a contradiction between sharpness and fluidity. A sense of polish, rigor and sophistication inspired by the maison’s couture heritage prevails, across all genders. Menswear suits are presented formally, with foulard necklines or shirt and tie, sportswear given a couture polish, sneakers fused with formal shoes; womenswear is sharply tailored or extravagantly embroidered, dressed up, with high-heeled platform Mary-Janes or sandals that combine calfskin or satin with carbon-fiber.
Textures are rich and lustrous, colors deep. Leather is given a preciousness, polished in gem tones. There is a game of make-believe with surfaces: Tessellated Art Deco patterns, like tiles or marquetry, may be evoked through print, knit, or fils-coupe silk-velvet, hand-painted, their lustre pretending embroidery. Conversely, embroidery is given the graphic feel of print – stacked sequins resemble polka-dots, others seem to pixellate, 21st century decoration dissolving. Fabrics can pretend, too: cashmere is washed for softness, silk panné velvets bonded to jersey for weight, tailored with precision. When touched, held, clothes transform and evolve at your fingertips.
Inspiration is drawn from Art Deco and Ancient Egypt – thousands of years apart, the aesthetics of the former were fundamentally shaped by the latter. The graphic nature of Egyptian art and architecture delineated the 1920s, and therefore Modernism – a future, born from the past. Reflecting that notion literally, jewellery evokes an Egyptian feel, abstracted foliate and teardrop shapes echoing the Arpège perfume bottle. Even the stylized Lanvin ‘Chat’ bag provides an unexpected nod to Egypt – it is applied to a new ‘Guitar’ shaped chassis, the cat’s head translated to the top-handle ‘Smile’ bag, and an ongoing collaboration with Judith Leiber creates a minaudière as a precious, bejeweled tulip bloom.
More abstractly, fragments of histories are embedded in other garments – a wool gazar back with shapely princess seams, an inset of velvet defining a waist like a mirage of another garment. Insides are unlined, exposed, in celebration of the beauty of couture. Crafting clothing, and crafting image alike.
Jeanne Lanvin herself time-travelled through the history of fashion – her robes de style borrowed volumes from the 18th century, re-engineered for modern women. Another illusion – they offered weightless volume, floating around women. For Fall/Winter 2022, that silhouette and ideology is revisited – fragile and silk laces dresses bubble with volume around the body, voluminous and voluptuous yet weightless, recalling the silhouette of Lanvin’s signature flower, the Marguerite, sometimes traced in caviar beads across its surface. Other dresses are illusory, suspended from tulle, levitating around the body with drapes of silk and velvet, drawn from original Lanvin pieces spanning the history of the house, back to 1889, but collaged together, to become new.
Illusions and imaginations of the past, projections and predictions of a future. All are anchored, here, in the unmistakable language and legacy of a Parisian couture house.