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Lanvin Womenswear A/W10

African tribes infiltrated Alber Elbaz's vision this season.

PhotographyMorgan O'Donovan

It's always interesting to see female journalists quite literally swooning backstage after a Lanvin show, professing their love for Alber Elbaz's genius work. This is surefire proof of the way Elbaz's vision strikes an emotional chord with a lot of women. This season, we were thrown straight into sweeping dramatics as all girls donned black blunt fringed wigs and exited the runway by ascending a staircase disappearing into darkness. There was a sexy severity to the first part of the show concentrating in daywear, which was achieved by the robust cuts with rectangular shapes worked into the sleeves and shoulders. These angles then gave way to plumes of feathers integrated into dresses as well as fluffing out from hulking coats. An African tribal element was fully evident in the heavy statement jewellery that sat well with the embellished metallic dresses underneath, dripping with embroidery and more feathers. The finale piece quite literally wanted to touch your heart with its embroidered heart motif in the centre and when you add a heavy dose of soul, you have all the right components coursing through the collection that made the audience applaud with great enthusiasm
Dazed Digital: What were the ideas running through this collection? Alber Elbaz: I started with Africa in winter. I've never been to Africa so it was an imagined world. Then I moved to a tribal theme and I started to work around shapes of squares and circles, primary cuts. I wanted to work more on construction rather than draping because the last three seasons, I did a lot of draping where it was a festival of womanhood. Here I wanted to go back to purity. How do you make purity and make it emotional; that was the biggest excercise I had. Everybody is talking about going back to roots and though roots are important, we have to make it relevant for me and we're living in a world that is strong and sometimes aggressive and moving forward really fast. So we cannot be retro and we have to update our clothes for women today. You ask women what they want and they tell you, for winter they tell you they want a dress with two sleeves and perhaps a wig, because they don't have time to run the hairdresses so there you have a dress and a wig!
DD: What prompted the stairs at the end of the runway? Alber Elbaz: It's kind of old fashion to see grand girls coming down the stairs. It was so much more relevant to see them moving up. I cannot tell you what a drama it was because everything was built upstairs. If you have an idea and you believe it in it, you had to follow it.
DD: What fabrics were you playing with this season? Alber Elbaz: There was a lot of stretch fabric and because I worked with construction, I was scared the clothes would be too architectural and I don't want women wearing houses. From coats to suits to dresses, we worked with stretch fabrics. Instead of shoulder pads, we built up the shoulders using fabrics.
DD: What about the wigs? Alber Elbaz: I almost had all the wigs taken off. I always believe in individuality and I love when women are themselves. Here, I see women going to get the same lips at the doctors, the same dress, and I wanted to see how it would look to have all the girls looking the same.

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