Thursday, November 4, 2010

I want Lanvin, not flowers!

You can call out a loud 'Yeehaa!' everyone, because H&M has another designer collaboration coming up. Alber Elbaz, artistic director of Lanvin, designed a collection of stunning party dresses for small prices. Many talented designers went before him; Karl Lagerfeld, Viktor & Rolf, Sonia Rykiel, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, and in November of last year a limited edition by the brand Jimmy Choo. Although I think it's a very smart move of H&M to produce these collections, because of the extreme desiriability of relatively cheap designer clothes (girls have been literally fighting over the clothes in H&M stores), and I think it is somehow democratic and fair, I feel that not every collection has been a success.
When I looked at last year's Jimmy Choo dresses, that hang abandonned on a sale rack and still were bought by no one, I did not feel excited at all, as I had felt by the collections of Karl Lagerfeld and Viktor & Rolf. In my opinion, the designers of Jimmy Choo failed to translate the exclusiveness and fragile perfectness of haute couture when they took their glamourous dresses and shoes to the masses. Dresses looked cheap because of the use of wrong materials, shoes looked almost slutty because of their metallic colour and heels that were just inches too low.
A Jimmy Choo for H&M dress
You can state that the borders of haute couture and prĂȘt-a-porter are not as set in stone as we once thought. There are no limits anymore. If haute couture brands also produce fashion for 'normal' people, what will happen to luxury? This is why Alber Elbaz says in the H&M Press Release: "What does luxury mean today? Can luxury be exclusive and democratic at the same time? Designer's work is usually tailored to a very small group of people, but the collection for H&M was about trying to translate the dream of luxury to the masses."

Pictures from the Lanvin hearts H&M Lookbook
This is a great concept, and a beautiful goal he sets up for himself: now we can asks ourselves if he succeeded. I looked at the whole collection here (and I can recommend everyone to do the same) and I think the answer is a steady YES. Beautifully tailored tuxedo jackets, ruffled party dresses in outspoken neon colours, cheeky prom-style bandeau dresses, a trenchcoat with zebra prints, and warm fur cover-ups that look delicately soft; I want this! Apart from the party look, you can also find funny T-shirts with tongue-in-cheek illustrations and embellishments. There's also a range of accessories: from lipstick to pearl necklaces to leather gloves and pointed pumps. The men's collection is designed by Dutch Lanvin's men designer Lucas Ossendrijver. It is kind of funky, with glamorous blue shoes and bow ties in bold colours and prints.
The black ruffle mini skirt in the Lanvin hearts H&M Lookbook
My favourites of the women's collection are the ruffled mini skirts, the fur coat and the dark blue dress. I find the yellow dress very bold, but I don't think I would ever wear it in real life!

Bold yellow dresses!
Has the appeal of the 'real' Lanvin decreased? Will the brand be sentenced as cheap now? Not if you ask Alber Elbaz. He says: "what intrigued me was the idea of H&M going luxury rather than Lanvin going public." And I think that's exactly what happened. The line launches on November the 20th. I guess I know what my prom dress is going to be like this year!

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