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5 posts tagged "Jeanne Lanvin"

From Jeanne to Alber, 125 Years of Lanvin’s History

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Jeanne LanvinThis year marks the 125th anniversary for Lanvin, the oldest fashion house in Paris. But age is just a number, and WWD reports that the storied brand is celebrating the milestone in a thoroughly modern way—via social media. Lanvin.com is launching a new section called “Lanvin History,” which will feature an archive of photos, videos, and original artwork by Jeanne Lanvin. And on facebook.com/lanvinofficial, significant milestones in Lanvin’s history will be posted each Thursday. With memorable moments such as the opening of Mme Lanvin’s first hat shop in 1889, the launch of menswear in 1926, Alber Elbaz’s 2010 collection for H&M, or even those must-have “Help” necklaces from Fall ’13, there’s no doubt a wealth of material. On Instagram, objects found in Mme Lanvin’s Paris headquarters will be shared with hundreds of thousands of fans, and pinterest.com/lanvinofficial will feature special boards to showcase the brand’s rich DNA.

The digital celebration will begin in early February, and a spokesman for the house confirmed a 2015 exhibition is in the works. After 125 years, we’d say it’s about time.

Photo: Harlingue via Getty Images

Caroline McCall Talks Dressing Downton Abbey for the 1920s

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The Ladies of Downton Abbey

Who’s ready for a glam-packed trip back to 1922? This Sunday, Downton Abbey—the British series that explores the dramatic lives of the well-to-do Crawley family and their staff—returns for its fourth season on PBS. And as the cast of lords, ladies, cooks, maids, and butlers enters into the 1920s, they experience a bona fide fashion revolution. With the exception of Maggie Smith’s uppity character, Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, the “upstairs” ladies begin to slip into the loose, beaded, embellished, and sometimes skin-baring designs of the pre-flapper age. Emmy Award-winning costume designer Caroline McCall is responsible for it all.

Many would argue that the elaborate period costumes worn by the show’s aristocratic characters, like the rebellious Lady Edith (who experiences somewhat of a coming of age this season), Lady Mary Crawley (who spends the entire season mourning the loss of her husband, Matthew, and thus exclusively wears frocks in mauve, black, and purple), Cora Crawley, and her mother, Martha Levinson, are one of the series’ biggest draws. “I think the romanticism and the glamour of the show attracts people,” offered McCall of Downton‘s international success. “Of course, the clothing helps with all that. The costumes help you understand who each character is, but would people still enjoy it without the costumes? I think they probably would.” Maybe so, but certainly not as much. Here, McCall talks to Style.com about how icons Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, and Paul Poiret influenced Downton‘s looks, the perils of working with vintage clothes, and why she chose to dress Maggie Smith in the image of a queen.

Seeing as this season is set in the twenties, the characters are experiencing a fashion revolution. How are the new costumes different from what we’ve seen in the past?
Downton began in 1912, and now we’re in 1922 and 1923. In terms of fashion for women, that’s probably the most change we’ve seen in any single decade. It’s quite extraordinary to see the transformation from how covered-up women were, how uncomfortable and corseted they were, to how completely different they’re dressed in season four. I always tell the actresses that their characters would never have imagined in 1912 that they’d be able to go out like this. We’re not in the flapper period yet, but there are all sorts of designer influences going on in the early twenties. A lot of Lady Mary’s [played by Michelle Dockery] wardrobe is inspired by Vionnet. Lady Rose MacClare [played by Lily James] has a lot of knitwear because the argyle craze was beginning due to the fact that the Royals were starting to wear their knits in day-to-day life, instead of just for sport. Then there’s a lot of Lanvin-influenced dresses. And Edith [played by Laura Carmichael] has all sorts of influences, because of her being in London. She’s a journalist and she’s trying to be more sexy and womanly, so for her, I looked at lots of illustrations by George Barbier. Poiret has also been an influence throughout.

Lady EdithIt sounds like Lady Edith’s wardrobe changes pretty drastically this season.

Yes, it’s really the arc of her story. When you come back in series four, Matthew has been dead for six months, and it feels like the house hasn’t moved on. The whole house has been in darkness since his death, and Edith is desperate to get out. And when she returns to London, boy does she go for it. She’s decided that she’s a new, independent woman of the early twenties, so her wardrobe has changed to reflect all that.

Are any of the characters’ wardrobes inspired by historical figures?

Well, for Violet Crawley—she’s played by Maggie Smith—we looked a lot at Queen Alexandra and what she was wearing. She was the same age as Maggie Smith’s character in the same time period, and she was very glamorous. But she had a particular style. Queen Alexandra was an Edwardian woman, and her wardrobe and her silhouette remained as such during the twenties, but she still had a little pizzazz about her. That’s what I’ve tried to give Maggie. Alexandra always had stunning hats, and she always wore a high collar. Maggie’s silhouette has been more or less the same throughout the whole series—the fabrics and the trims have changed, but the silhouette of her clothing will not. However, a character like Martha Levinson [played by Shirley MacLaine] is desperate to keep up with fashion, even if she’s slightly older in years. She wants to stay young.

How important is historical accuracy when you’re designing these costumes? Do you take any liberties?
We try to create something that’s as true to the time as possible. There are looks this season that people will think are not right, they’ll think they’re ahead of their time, but they’re not. We do a lot of research—I look at books and magazines from the time, and I visit Cosprop, a costume house in London where they have a museum of original clothes. Going through original pieces helps me understand the way things were constructed and the differences, the little nuances, that changed from one year to the next. But obviously you can’t be slavish to the period because you can’t only use original clothes. The fabrics are too fragile. However, when we make new costumes, we make them as closely as possible to what they would have been. Continue Reading “Caroline McCall Talks Dressing Downton Abbey for the 1920s” »

Catherine Martin Talks Gatsby

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“We needed to find a way of translating the twenties into something that felt as new and modern and titillating as it was back in 1922,” said Catherine Martin—the designer behind the costumes for husband Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming The Great Gatsby film—during an intimate Q&A with Harold Koda at the Met yesterday evening. If there’s anything that can reignite the Jazz Age’s mystique, it’s Martin’s wares, which are at once painstakingly historically accurate (aside from a zipper here and there) and completely enchanting. The film, which opens on May 10 and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, boasts such fantasies as feathered frocks worn by the Fitzgerald-penned tale’s “girls in twin yellow dresses” (the looks were inspired by an actual twenties-era vaudevillian act), hordes of boater hats by Rosie Boylan, wigs made in England, and beach pajamas (for the elusive Jordan Baker).

Luhrmann and Martin’s fondness for Schiaparelli (the pair worked on the film for the Met’s Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibition), lent a surreal edge to the story’s infamous party scene. “Baz kept saying, ‘We need a lobster!’” recalled Martin. And he got one—the costumer crafted metallic crustacean headpieces for the showgirls at Gatsby’s raucous soiree (below). Continue Reading “Catherine Martin Talks Gatsby” »

Truly Vintage Lanvin, On Display In Paris

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Fashion-minded visitors at the Biennale des Antiquaires, which opened to the public today in Paris and runs through September 23, tend to beeline to the haute joaillerie. Mere paces away from the Cartier booth, however, a Parisian gallery has put together something genuine fashion wonks might prefer: a re-creation of an installation that Jeanne Lanvin commissioned in 1925.

Lanvin, who loved the theater, had her interior designer, A.A. Rateau, create an Art Deco dressing room for an exhibition that year at the Grand Palais. She also added a live model—wearing Lanvin, naturellement—to the tableau. The owners of Galerie Mathivet didn’t, but they did (somewhat miraculously) manage to get their hands on the dress. According to Céline Mathivet, Alber Elbaz generously let them borrow it after about six months of back-and-forth. The floral metallic number has only been out of the Lanvin archives once in recent history, for an exhibition in 2007 at the city’s Galliera Musée de la Mode.

The Mathivets are displaying the metallic dress behind a Plexiglas screen (pictured)—no touching!—and it’s the one thing in their authentic mock-up that’s not for sale. As historic as it is, the exhibit is a testament to the staying power of Art Deco, particularly at the level at which Mme. Lanvin engaged it. To this day, the house’s signature Arpège fragrance comes in a vessel that’s for all intents and purposes the original “boule noire” Rateau designed in the twenties. And the leopard-print sculpted armchair in the center of the room looks as desirable as ever—especially for anyone suffering from Biennale bling fatigue.

Photo: Joe Schildhorn / BFAnyc.com

To The Lanvin Library, What’s Old Is New Again, W Gets KK, And More…

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Today in fashion field trips, part 1: Todd Selby visits Jeanne Lanvin’s personal library in Paris, comes away with shots like the one above. [The Selby]

Today in fashion field trips, part 2: Patrik Ervell heads to Detroit to take in a new Matthew Barney performance piece. Sadly, no snaps are allowed in the performance, but Patrik did share a few of his best shots of Motor City with the crew at Opening Ceremony. [OC New News]

New Gap logo, we hardly knew ye. The much-debated redesign is officially out, replaced by the retailer’s classic navy box. The short-lived new one can now go join the pantheon of New Coke and other revamp missteps. [Fashionista]

And Kim Kardashian made the cover of the new issue of W. Her clothes, for better or worse, did not. [PopSugar]

Photo: Todd Selby/TheSelby.com