Lanvin's men's show today marked a first for the label: the first time the clothes had been shown on an elevated catwalk, because, said Alber Elbaz, "It's time to elevate fashion." But Lanvin has always made time for that, which was clearer in this collection than ever before. From beginning to end, it had a relentless drive, defined by the tension between fashionable opposites: classic versus high-tech, linear versus rounded, detail versus no detail. And, although the presentation was staged with boyish models who were manorexic to the point of parental concern, the collection itself was actually infused with a more generous spirit than has ever been manifest in Lanvin menswear.
That was partly a function of the collection's roundness, with full, high-waisted, pleated trousers and tops whose shoulders drooped fetchingly. But those pieces were all in black and white, as atonal as the Soft Cell track "Memorabilia" that played on the soundtrack. In fact, you had to apply the beady eye to find color, usually a Lanvin strong point (find it you could, in the slim layer of Lanvin blue that shaded shoe soles). In its place there was shine, one of Spring 2013's big stories. There has always been an undercurrent of the shadowy side of glam rock in Lanvin's menswear, and here it was gloriously expressed in a silver-glazed peacoat. That contrast between tradition and tech was extended into pieces that combined reptile and nylon in a shiny union of the snake.
It was such a graphic face-off that you could almost picture the collection's evolution from urban monochrome to futuristic metal as a journey from city streets to moon and stars. That narrative made this the most convincing men's collection Lucas Ossendrijver has created for Lanvin. It was also a testament to the label's enduringly strange romance.