PARIS, France — “Turbulent.” After everything Lanvin has been through in the past few months, that descriptive was the very least you’d expect Lucas Ossendrijver to apply to his current situation. It was his first collection without his peremptorily deposed mentor Alber Elbaz. It was also his tenth anniversary with the house. “A strange season,” he said, understated to a fault. “It made me look back at what my work’s about.” True, the past can offer security, but that’s not where Ossendrijver went. There has always been a flibbertigibbet quality in Lanvin’s menswear, a skitter-y ambiguity that defied definition. Boy/girl? Boy/man? And so it was today: a cardigan in mousseline? Perversely un-functional, even with knit sleeves. Such an item crystallised something half-formed and rough-edged about the collection. One raw-hemmed coat was spray-dyed. Another was re-constructed from the inside out, with crude topstitching holding the sleeves on. Silk shirts were printed five ways, then over-dyed. Shearling was spray-dyed. So were sneakers. And there were more coats, as fluid and unstructured as kimonos. And crocheted tops too.
Ossendrijver wanted intimacy, with his catwalk narrow enough that his audience could see the details he treasured. But those details may not have conveyed the impression he wanted. So much of what he showed had a sense of do-it-yourself, naïve craft, like gypsies let loose in a fashion house, that it actually felt radical for a label as expensive and established as Lanvin. So maybe Ossendrijver was feeling defiant in the light of recent events. In which case — all power to him.