Classic brands, unconventional approaches | BoF

PARIS – Demna Gvaslia pulled off a surprising cartoon collaboration for Balenciaga on Saturday night, designer Lanvin Bruno Sialelli pulled another out of the bag on Sunday morning with his DC Comics connection. A lateral reflection had taken him from Jeanne Lanvin and her role in the Parisian artistic development of the interwar period, in the Art Deco style which guided her work, in Gotham City, capital of the nightmare of decoration, in the Gotham love / hate duo. , Batman and Catwoman, and finally to Tim Burton in 1992 meisterwerk “Batman Returns”, illuminated by Michelle Pfeiffer’s stellar turn as the fatal feline.

Sialelli showed DC Comics some renderings he made of the bat and the cat. They loved what they saw and gave permission for the original artwork to be used. She was filtered throughout the presentation: Batman on the back of a leather coat, his face wrapped around sneakers (Evan Mock wanted to!), His car on a shirt or bag or crop top. “I would have loved Michelle Pfeiffer to be a part of the show,” Sialelli said dreamily. Instead, he sparkled Catwoman in an abbreviated metallic mesh shift dress.

It was a way, says Sialelli, “of bringing Lanvin into the modern world.” And if this change sounded like an evening gown, it was her manifesto, too. He wanted to bring the vibe of his digital presentation for winter 2021 to the real world. Called “Rich Girl,” it was a hyperkinetic tribute to Gwen Stefani, one of the stars of MTV when Sialelli was educating her in fashion through pop videos. He loved the idea of ​​party clothes, because how were his boys and girls going to broadcast their confident return to post-pandemic social life?

But Sialelli’s party was necessarily a little more layered than that. After all, not everyone wants to walk around with the Batmobile on their chest. In the Lanvin archives, he found the Jeanne daisy print that he made Pop. He shortened her dress from a classic pleated style to mid-thigh. This week in Paris also sees a massive tribute to Alber Elbaz, the man who rebuilt the Lanvin house. Sialelli recognized her influence with flowing illusion tulle dresses.

Lanvin Spring / Summer 2022 Looks. Courtesy.

When the subject of Gvasalia was brought up, Sialelli suggested that Balenciaga has always been on “the anticipation, new, new, new” where Lanvin was more “a brand on. now, in a strange way. Given that he spent several years working with Jonathan Anderson, it was no surprise that Sialelli’s keynote in the news was some improbability, defined by masculine looks that ranged from a leather stormtrooper trench coat. purple to glitter skater shorts. He felt like the pandemic was so gone that it was normal in his world that everything was much more intense. “There isn’t so much time to intellectualize what you’re doing, it makes you more spontaneous.” There was certainly that in the creations of Sialelli, a quality on edge that will ideally seduce some and will rock others.

Matthew Williams’ tenure at Givenchy has already provoked a similar reaction. For his first live performance for the brand, he returns to La Défense Arena, Europe’s largest stadium, where he makes his digital debut in March. “I wanted to continue the working language with light and space that we started with this first show,” he explained. The light was provided by a huge oval dome, like a piece of art by James Turrell or a hovering UFO.

Williams is obsessed with the fit and his collection was a master class in precision. Classic costume fabrics have been glued with neoprene so they can be raw cut. The key silhouette for women’s clothing was a flared basque. Williams said it was inspired by a dress in the Hubert de Givenchy archives, though it also referred to the extreme forms of Alexander McQueen, who led Givenchy later in the house’s history. Another piece he particularly liked was a layered tulle top inspired by paint strokes made in the studio. The layers were cut to create an almost radiographic effect, another slightly macabre echo of McQueen.

Givenchy Spring / Summer 2022 Looks. Courtesy.

Givenchy Spring / Summer 2022 Looks. Courtesy.

The lingering impression of Williams’ work has always been in total control, although he says he has deliberately introduced imperfections in the past to create a tension between tradition and modernity. Here, for example, there were sharp men’s suits with unfinished seams. But a collaboration with artist Josh Smith sparked another side of Williams, with a welcome introduction of color and craftsmanship. He described Smith’s work as “obsessive, emotional, handcrafted” and presented the artist’s paintings and ceramics through a wide array of objects. Jack’o’lanterns, an antifreeze container, a bottle of bleach, a Halloween witch hat were an incongruous and messy counterpoint to everything that came before and after. The best were Smith’s Grim Reaper paintings translated into rich knits in saturated colors and sheathed in translucent hoodies, also brilliant in color.

In addition to Smith’s art, his art was reflected in macrame or English embroidery which was apparently based on the stencils that adorn his paintings. They lent a literally folk touch to the collection, even – or maybe mostly – when they cut bloomer-like shorts worn with thigh-high clogs / boots (also trimmed). During a moment of madness, you could afford a vision of the Williams woman as a saloon girl on the new frontier of Givenchy.

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