One of the most beautiful collections of the Paris A/W 09 menswear season must have belonged to Lanvin. If the season‘s themes have oscillated between downbeat restraint and escape, a hopeful tone of optimism rang out at Lanvin. Under Alber Elbaz’s guidance, Lanvin has always been about catalysing emotion and joy into clothing and this season was an outstanding example of that. The clothes had a worn down and lived-in luxuriousness with exposed frayed edges and rolled up sleeves on coats and ribbed trousers. Jersey was blended with other materials which allowed the clothes to flow as the models glided down the catwalk and the volume was pumped up into some new shapes. Creative director, Lucas Ossendrijver also explored a new archetype for Lanvin Homme with the elegant cap and slim trousers tucked into boots that was more equestrian chic than military.
As if to reinforce the mood of change, a Barack Obama stand-in led the procession of models at the end to rapturous applause from the audience. A typically witty and inspired ending to a triumphant show. Dazed Digital spoke to Ossendrijver backstage after the show.
Dazed Digital: Tell us about the experiments with fabrics this season.
Lucas Ossendrijver: I wanted to start the collection like armour, but then it was how to make it Lanvin? A big part of that answer was jersey. We mixed it with knits and other fabrics, so the newness was in the fabrics. It also allowed us to play with volume.
DD: The Lanvin Homme collections are always about a young man in transition to adulthood. How has the youth progressed through the seasons?
LO: I think this season they were a little more self-assured. They have evolved, they were very masculine I thought. But still there is a fragility to them, they weren’t too dressy or dressed up. It was about simplicity and very much about optimism as well.
DD: I loved the chic-ness of the riding cap and trousers tucked into boots…
LO: There were a lot of different options, quite extreme at times. Really big volume or really tight. But the construction was important as well. New fabrics, new tailoring, new eveningwear, new daywear.
DD: Do men understand romance in clothes?
LO: I think so. But it was romance without being feminine. It was a little bit more hard than before. It was about being real, what people want today, what they need today. Because it’s not just about fantasy for show but it’s about real clothes. You want to reflect the times, what is going on at the moment.
DD: Was that why you had an Obama lookalike at the end leading the procession?
LO: That was a last minute decision. We thought okay we could be very serious and very dark. But we tried to be optimistic and believe in new things. So it was an illustration of that.
DD: Lanvin has a vast and storied legacy. How do you push it forward?
LO: By experimenting, by trying, by thinking, by making mistakes.