Lanvin’s Tokyo TKO
The best way to celebrate the new? At Lanvin, it’s with an eye to the past. France’s oldest couture house marked its 120th anniversary on Wednesday night at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo’s main sumo stadium. Amid red paper lanterns, glittering chandeliers, and bright lights, Alber Elbaz, Lanvin menswear designer Lucas Ossendrijver, and exec Thierry Andretta showed the label’s Spring/Summer 2010 collections to a crowd of 1,200, including Kanye West (going incognito in hood and mask), local celebrities like soccer star Hidetoshi Nakata, and former sumo champ Musashimaru (who confessed, “I feel nervous being here because it is not work!”). Backstage, Elbaz explained his venue choice: “It’s a place of devotion here,” he said of the tradition-steeped arena, “where athletes have to work and devote their life like dancers, musicians, artists, designers. You have to devote your life, you have to make sure that you are doing the best you can.”
The night before, the team hit glitzy Ginza to relaunch Lanvin’s Asian flagship, the first to house both women’s and menswear. Andretta, who praised the “sophisticated” Japanese luxury market, gave us a personal tour of the dual-level store. The first floor is a decadent dressing room strewn with dresses, shoes, bags, and baubles and the “Supermarché de Luxe” anniversary display, with black-and-white photos from the Lanvin archive gazing down from the walls. The second floor includes the White Room, with a selection of clothes curated by Elbaz and a menswear section offering bespoke tailoring. “Modern doesn’t mean necessarily minimalism,” Elbaz said. “Modern means emotion and history and stories.” Here in Tokyo, no one will argue with that.