Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Grown-ups before girls"

Oh, the fun I would've had living in 1940's Manila as my Grandmother Magdalena. Not only was she young and beautiful (with a hint of Spanish blood), but she also had an impeccably glamorous wardrobe. Really, what's not to love about sleek pencil skirts, airy silk blouses and thick woolen coats that hit perfectly at mid-calf level? The inspirational retro-dazzle of one of my favorite decades can be found almost everywhere this season, most prevalently in Lanvin's A/W 2009-2010 Ready-To-Wear collection which debuted at Paris Fashion Week this June.

As Sarah Mower mused in a recent Telegraph article, "The Forties are back – and favouring grown-ups before girls."

Rita Hayworth

Lana Turner

Gene Tierney

Channeling Old Hollywood stars like Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner and Gene Tierney, Lanvin's collection is full of elegant forties timepieces like lush floor-length gowns, vintage fur stoles, whimsical feathery headbands and serious pieces structured at the shoulder. Instead of other designers who ultimately try too hard to embody "new creativity" at their catwalk shows, Alber Elbaz kept it classy, creating pieces that delicately emphasize the feminine silhouette and hug the body in all the right places, all the while maintaining an unavoidable sense of drama and seduction.

images courtesy of

While forties fashion was certainly classic and aesthetically pleasing, it can barely be deemed innovative by today's standards. Elbaz addresses this issue, successfully bridging the gap between then and now by substituting today's fabrics and cuts for otherwise obsolete patterns. Ensuring that the collection remains relevant to today, the elbow-length gloves are leather where they once were satin, and skirts and jackets now possess swing and shape where they once hung flat.

 images courtesy of

In short, bravo to you, Mr. Elbaz, on a dramatic performance well-done; one which Jeanne Lanvin herself would surely have been proud to witness.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

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