2010 October 3

Runway Reviews: Lanvin, Isabel Marant, Yohji Yamamoto

Lanvin Spring 2011 Lanvin Spring 2011
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Alber Elbaz is an idea man, and for Spring, he looked beyond his usual draped masterpieces to play with new concepts—at least four, by current count. There were body-conscious separates and long dresses in a luxe take on stretch neoprene, curve-hugging tube dresses, color-blocked silk day frocks, pleated silk neons, and even a smattering of silk fern prints during the finale. It is to Elbaz's credit that his creative energy can be channeled in so many directions simultaneously, and buyers will be encouraged that he is expanding his formidable repertoire in areas beyond accessories. A seamed swimsuit-style black racerback dress with a leather belt and extra fabric draped around one hip proved how fierce and sexy this side of Lanvin can be, as did silk draped bodysuits in an enchanting shade of cerulean. Coated trenches and flat sandals with an ankle trap offered a utilitarian counterpoint, while transparent silk chiffon sleeved numbers nodded to the Lanvin you know and love. But ultimately, whenever Elbaz explores new directions, the Lanvin customer eventually reaps the benefits.

Isabel Marant’s cuffed-jeans and neck scarf-sporting ‘50s girl from Fall got pretty in pink for Spring 2011, starting with a pair of pale pink cropped pants and a sporty jacket with flower embroidery. If the first look was a direct riff on last season, it progressed nicely, offering girlier looks like smocked and ruffled lavender frocks and skirts and clingy open knit dresses over long singlet tanks as well as sporty separates like football-style lace-up pants, mesh tanks, and co-ed-worthy rugby-stripe dresses. Of course, Marant’s signature effortlessness that makes her so beloved among those less buttoned-up among the fashion crowds meant that nothing was too sweet or deliberate. Nubby knits, micro-shorts, and even more of those ‘50s-ish cuffed skinny jeans (not to mention the slouchy boots and cap-toed pointy pumps) will surely cause the kind of quiet Marant frenzy that her retail outposts have been enjoying for several seasons now.

There were quite a few revelations beneath the spectacular, signature layering and draping at Yamamoto's Spring show. The designer surprised his front row with twisted bras, neon leggings, and bold, candy-colored sneakers. Accompanied by the angelic sounds of "Ave Maria," young models like Karlie Kloss resembled beautifully damaged and angsty rock angels. Voluptuous skirts and aggressive military boots completed the ensembles. Especially effective? Striking black columns, energized with pastel scarves and trains. And after the final walk, a few guests were teary-eyed—a testament to the emotion this designer can muster.