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An Unfolding Dialogue at Lanvin

Bouchra Jarrar’s insistence on an innate compatibility with Jeanne Lanvin sounded like it was sidestepping the Alber Elbaz years. What will his jewel-toned’n’drape-lovin’ adherents make of this parade? 
Lanvin Spring/Summer 2017 | Source: InDigital.tv
By
  • Tim Blanks

PARIS, France — From the onset, the effect that Bouchra Jarrar wanted to achieve with her first show for Lanvin was clear. A smoky female voice intoned passages from India Song by French novelist Marguerite Duras: "La vie se consume." Jarrar is a romantic. She said her collection was for "women who love, and women who love to be loved." And women who love to spend a lot of time in their boudoirs, by the looks of a collection that specialised in the sheer, the filmy, the floaty.

Jarrar has foregone her own collection to focus on Lanvin. That's a shame. It nipped in the bud the career of one of Parisian haute couture's most promising new standardbearers. Who knows how much of that consideration she brought on board to her new gig, but it was easy to trace her own aesthetic through the lines of her collection for Lanvin.

Feathers, for starters. Jarrar loved birds in her own collection. She loved them again here. Julia Nobis's bolero, with a froth of ostrich and a flurry of ruche-ed tulle, was a vivid echo of the past. A couple of cropped leather jackets were also classic Jarrar. And the monochrome emphasis of the show was another reminder. It was spectacular in a column of black duchesse, outlined in ivory.

In her own work, that rigour reflected a sensual masculine/feminine dynamic. Jarrar carried it over here with striped robes layered over stock-tied blouses and pyjama pants, or a pique bib-front shirt with black pants.

Jarrar's insistence on an innate compatibility with Jeanne Lanvin sounded like it was sidestepping the years in which Alber Elbaz brought the house to life for a new generation. There is once again a woman at the helm of a house which has long been held up as one of fashion's most shining examples of a woman designer's drive and ambition. "It was effortless to find a connection," Jarrar said after the show, as wellwishers pushed in furiously.

Effortlessness was, of course, one of the accolades that fans heaped on Elbaz’s head. What will his jewel-toned’n’drape-lovin’ adherents make of this parade? A shimmering black lacquered velvet plastron and the violent purple of a cap-sleeved, 1940s-styled chiffon dress might speak to them. But it will be telling to see how the dialogue unfolds. Elbaz's contribution was knowingly teased by the hard edge of bitter experience. If his women had loved, they'd also lost. It's a cold world outside the boudoir.

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