Laid-back luxury backstage at Lanvin men's
Half an hour to go until the menswear show at Lanvin, and the boys' sandals won't stay on their feet. A seamstress slips in a strip of diving suit neoprene. Problem solved.
Backstage the bare-chested young models, many of them British, have coloured clips in their hair to keep everything in place until the show, on the final day of the Paris menswear collections for spring-summer 2013.
Those with cropped hair get a once-over with a trimmer to smooth them down, others get a manicure or touch of make-up, while the rest relax with a cup of coffee, nibble a slice of cake or read a novel cross-legged on the floor.
To pass the time they show off their tattoos to one another.
Lucas Ossendrijver, who has designed the label's menswear for the past six years under the guidance of artistic director Alber Elbaz, joins them for the final drill, and any last-minute tweaks.
A gentle giant of a man, former aide to the cult designer Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme, the 42-year-old Dutchman wears a T-shirt of bright blue silk.
"It's Lanvin blue, and it also sums up the collection," which is all about laid-back luxury.
For next summer the house built its look around the contrast between classic suits in traditional fabrics, and modern, technical materials with high-tech finishings.
"We did high-waisted pants and low-waisted pants, roomy, rounded jackets and others that are slimmer-fitting," explained the designer.
"To create the tension that makes fashion appealing, but also to offer men a choice of different silhouettes."
"I look at the men I see in the street, and at our customers. We aim to offer them a more democratic kind of fashion," he said.
Rainjackets and coats were coated with panels of python, while a coat of python set on nylon seems as light as a leaf.
In a twist on the sportswear aesthetic, a super-light jacket can be worn like a silk shirt, but with a tie.
"Luxury and high-tech," summed up Lucas.
On suits and coats the buttons are replaced with hidden poppers, while deceptively-simple looking mesh vests are spun from fine silk.
"The clothes are all about secrets," Elbaz explained.
On the runway, set slightly higher than the audience, the palette steers between greys and blacks, with flashes of the house's trademark blue, and several suits of shimmery silver.
"It is up to men to decide, we didn't want to impose any one style or cut for the season," said Elbaz.
"The clothes are a little bit more forgiving for people who are not a size zero," the Israeli designer explained, in his trademark mix of French and English.
"There is nothing wrong with contradictions. They add tension, and a vital kind of modern energy."
© 2012 AFP