Lanvin Pre Fall 2012 Collection

Alber Elbaz’s grip and understanding of Lanvin’s legacy has been so thorough it’s hard to imagine a time when he was not creative director of the house. He’s truly captured the moment.

This could just be my age talking, however, after 10 years as head designer Elbaz has done more to revive and refine the house than any of his peers at similar posts – think Stefano Pilati and Christophe Decarnin both of whom have crumbled if not hiccuped under the pressure of leading an iconic design house.

“This collection,” Elbaz said at his pre-fall presentation, “is about new fabrics, new technologies, and new volumes.”

The new silhouettes were evident, either bounding away from the body as if suspended by invisible petticoats, or creating melting illusions with lowered shoulder seams that still manage to draw the eye to the female body.

The new fabrics, textured rubberized wool and spongy polyester duchesse, were so smart. Where most designers opt for synthetic fibers to pinch pennies or just because they’re trending, Elbaz brings out the soul of the fabrics, sourcing only the most technologically advanced takes on textiles, without neglecting cut and fit.

What you have to love most about Alber Elbaz’s time at Lanvin is its evident selflessness. The design is always about improving “the house” and hardly ever about personal branding or celebrity. It’s refreshing to say the least.