There have been so many designers visiting Los Angeles recently -- Christian Louboutin, Angela Missoni and Erdem Moralioglu to name just a few. But it was especially nice to catch up with Lanvin's Paris-based artistic director Alber Elbaz, who is riding high after 10 years on the job. In that time, he has succeeded in waking the sleeping beauty that was the French fashion house of Lanvin, giving it a modern identity and must-have status.
His particular brand of imperfect glamour -- fraying lace edges, exposed zippers, grosgrain ribbon and pearl trims, sculpted bows and rosettes -- has elevated the humble T-shirt to near-couture standards, turned sneakers into $540 "It" shoes and reinvigorated the categories of cocktail dresses and costume jewelry.
His aesthetic has been much-imitated, influencing designs and boosting sales at J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Forever 21 and other specialty stores. Lanvin's collection for H&M last November was among the cheap chic retailer's most successful collaborations.
Now that Lanvin is firmly established, it is poised for a new phase of growth. To read my story about the French fashion house's future plans, click here.
-- Booth Moore
Photo: Alber Elbaz, artistic director of Lanvin, addressing guests at a dinner party and showing of his spring 2012 collection Nov. 4 in Los Angeles. Credit: Mark Woodworth/Billy Farrell Agency