There are very few runway shows where applause and cheering are a seasonal recurrence. Even though most show productions in Paris are testimony to a higher degree of creativity, entertainment and imagination than any other city’s, with beautiful venues, extravagant decors and state-of-the-art light and music systems, there are really just a handful of designers who receive standing ovations, and perhaps even evoke a few tears (of joy). For Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, this season was no different. As the models paraded by, in a single file or choreographed in groups of five, the audience applauded, whistled, pointed and smiled. And when the man made his two short bows in the end, following the closing group of five black girls in exotic greens and purples, I am certain a few tears were welling up in the front row.
The Lanvin family does not own the company anymore. The clothing line is in the hands of Mrs. Wang and the lucrative perfume business was bought by Interparfums. However, the family’s affinity and connection with the brand is still intact and respected. It was therefore an absolute honor to shoot one of the Lanvin’s most beautiful in-laws. Alessandra Lanvin, nee Guerrera, is married to Hubert Lanvin, the grandson of Jeanne Lanvin, the remarkable woman who launched the Couture label in 1909. Hubert and Alessandra live in a beautiful apartment in the prestigious Rue de la Pompe in Paris, with their 6-month old son, Victor. Before she got married, Alessandra was a headhunter in executive search for the fashion industry. And just recently she has started up an increasingly successful shoe company called Aperlai. After a short stint with two other founding members, she teamed up with a talented design consultant, Geraldina Bassani Antivari from Central Saint Martin’s. Here’s one blog’s shout out.
Alessandra showed me some amazing, luxurious vintage pieces. Some of them Lanvin, most of them Chanel to be correct. She finds a lot of her vintage in Istanbul – her mother is Turkish. “The ladies from the old families in Istanbul used to wear a lot of Couture,” she explains. “So you can find a lot of amazing vintage Couture for pretty cheap. In New York and Paris the stores are so overrated.”
Besides the beautiful pieces I saw, I am still in shock about how stunning and chic she is.
Due to construction in the building we did not get access to the Lanvin archives but hopefully, one day, Hubert’s mother, Maryll, who holds the key, will grant me a peek?