Showing posts with label Lanvin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lanvin. Show all posts

Friday, 15 May 2009

Sail Down Savile Row - The Lanvin Shopfront

   The Hermès tie booklets once contained a whimsical manifesto extolling the outlook-enhancing properties of donning a marvel of printed and finely woven silk in a skilfully knotted manner beneath a shirt collar. "An Hermès Day," if you will. Yesterday evening, I had something of "A Lanvin Night" when my camera shifted from inside my pocket to outside the entertaining and blithely directed window display in a moment of admiration

   The most notable aspect of the presentation is the way it holds its own on Savile Row, highlighting the variation in gentleman's dress that I'm perennially championing as one of the joys of traditional clothes. It's true that Lanvin is a fashion house first and foremost, but it's actually one of the better fits amongst its peers for the Row's current incarnation

   The fundamental aesthetic that menswear chief Lucas Ossendrijver presents is referential to as many men's dress codes as he likes, and almost as invigorating to the tailoring institution on a purely youthful and visual level as Ozwald Boateng was in the 1990s and as Nutter's of Savile Row was in the 1960s and 1970s. And it's not as if Lanvin doesn't house a bespoke operation in the basement, although I doubt the actual work takes place there as it does in much of the other basements up the street

   Lanvin's menswear is generally considered directional for the mix of its fabrics - including various innovations, blends and techniques I'll never study - its signature tonal palette and its classicist outlook that brings together romantic and elegant French nobleman stylings with underfed, overprivileged 24-hour party playboy. A very subdued envisioning of this notion presents itself in photo number one, which shows two "youths" enacting a sort of Brideshead-in-the-Tropics scenario. There's a keen intersecting of "Dressing correctly, like Dad" simplicity (also note the Panama) with the eyecatching colours and "Let's face it, I'm good looking" chest baring of a brash young heartbreaker, along with the rebellious cool kid use of Lanvin's infamous high-top trainers

   My most immediate thought was how little this directly resembled the runway collection from which these pieces originated, morphing from the occasionally effete, ruched and slouchy ensembles on show into something more akin to an Apparel Arts plate. This nod to the golden days of 20th century menswear is more directly expressed in the outfits of photo numero dos, which contrasts the first with more dignified, but still leisurely, tailored ensembles

   It takes a special kind of insight to make a cravat - or a scarf filling in for one - appear nonchalant and essential in this day and age, but it's mandatory in the outfit below. The bold suit on the right is simply a delight. The tone-on-tone look in full is not entirely successful - a suit like that works best with stark or exuberantly patterned contrasts - but the colouring alone recalls the two Savile Row tastemakers mentioned above

   Not every window display is inspiring. And I don't think there's anything to adapt personally that I haven't already considered or done before. But I appreciate that the Lanvin vision is so uncompromising and so thorough, always seeking a way to view the classics with slightly new eyes