Sunday, 24 April 2011

Désir du jour - Lanvin

Lanvin's SS10 ad campaign
Founded by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889, Lanvin is one of the world's most prestigious fashion houses. Starting out making clothing for her children, Lanvin launched her own label when her beautiful designs caught the eye of wealthy members of the community who commissioned her to make clothing for their children. Soon Lanvin opened her own boutique and also began making clothes for the mothers. As word of her designs spread, she became couturière to some of the most famous people in Europe.

The Lanvin label grew quickly, expanding to incorporate furs, lingerie, home decor and menswear. Lanvin's most important expansion was the development of Lanvin Parfums SA in 1924. Lanvin's signature fragrance became Arpège which was inspired by the sound of her daughter practising arpeggios (scales) on the piano.

The use of trimmings, beaded detail, intricate embroideries and light floral patterns soon became Lanvin's trademark. She is known as one of the most influential designers of her time.

When Lanvin passed away in 1946, Lanvin's daughter took over the business with a cousin who was a fashion industry expert. During the mid to late 1900's, the ownership of Lanvin changed hands numerous times. In August 2001, the company was purchased by a private investor group Harmonie SA. In October 2001, Alber Elbaz was appointed as artistic director of Lanvin, overseeing all design aspects of the brand.

Elbaz is very hands on in his approach of design, redesigning the packaging for the fashion house in 2006 using the colour of a forget-me-not flower, Jeanne Lanvin's favourite colour. Taking inspiration from Lanvin's classic designs from the 1920's, Elbaz's has strengthened the brand name with his ability to modernise traditional silhouettes.

Natalie Portman in Lavin's
asymmetric washed-satin gown
In 2010, Lanvin collaborated with Swedish high street brand H&M for their Winter collection. The collection was initially deemed a success with H&M sales jumping globally by 8%. However, some designs were not as well received by consumers, leaving H&M with excess stock. However, not wanting to waste the unsold pieces, in an ecological move H&M used fabric left over from the production of the Lanvin's collection to create a collection called Waste. Featuring bright graphics and harlequin prints, the pieces were well received.

With celebrity fans such as Natalie Portman, Michelle Obama and Charlize Theron, Elbaz's voluminous draped designs are regularly featured on the red carpet.

Worn by Natalie Portman, this satin gown is a modern twist on the timeless asymmetric shape. The strong jewel colour is enhanced by Lanvin's signature corsage and trademark draping. Available on Net-A-Porter for £2,195.08, this stunning gown is a fashion classic.

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