Alber Elbaz knows how to work a room. He began his Resort presentation for Lanvin by saying he'd switched back to something more informal after pre-fall's runway show because he wanted "more of a dialogue than a monologue." Then he launched into an explanation of his thought process: "I looked at Krystle [from Dynasty] because I heard the eighties were hot, but she didn't help"—that had the room in stitches. When the clothes finally did come out, if you weren't charmed, well, you might be in the wrong business.
Because charming is what they were, although not necessarily the pieces that were trying hard to be. By that we mean the T-shirt that read "Save the World, Wear Lanvin" and the crystal-bedecked frocks that we've been seeing from Elbaz for years now. What truly seduced were the simplest offerings—a strapless frock in wide stripes of metallic lamé, a short number in ombré silk fringe, a halter-neck jumpsuit worn under a suede safari jacket.
Madame Grès, the subject of a retrospective in Paris, proved a very seductive muse. Elbaz said he could never reproduce the micro-plissé that the legendary designer was known for—no one has the time or the money it would require—but he came up with a smart replacement: corded rope at the shoulders from which soft togalike dresses folded and draped, the best in a dazzling chartreuse yellow. Speaking of necklines, they were accessorized liberally with all manner of chokers, chains, beads, and pendants. The models wore small fortunes in costume jewelry.
And speaking of small fortunes, post-show a rack of Elbaz's new children's clothes was wheeled out. The dresses will be just shy of four figures, but you know there are women out there gaga enough for Alber that they'll pay. There were certainly plenty of grown-up clothes to go crazy over today—the extended applause Elbaz received was proof of that.