Its Fall/Winter 2021 collection draws from the over-the-top aesthetics of old MTV

A couple of decades into the new millennium, Lanvin is nostalgic for MTV. It’s also anticipatory—for a future of parties, and of excess. For a return to formalwear, embedded in the everyday. In his Fall/Winter 2021 collection, Lanvin creative director Bruno Sialelli looks ahead and back again. He does so idealistically, maintaining his signature joie de vivre, holding on to a sense of humor.

The collection is best communicated through its accompanying video. Paris’s Shangri-La Hotel sets the stage for a manifestation of carefree, wealthy youth. It’s reminiscent of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette—amusement and absolute luxury, set teasingly to Gwen Stefani’s “Rich Girl” featuring Eve. The clothes are shameless, with rich, bright color. They’re crafted in satin, velvet, taffeta, Japanese wool. Lanvin collaborates with the James Rosenquist Foundation to incorporate the American pop artist’s notions of consumer culture into patterns which arise in a corseted top, then a high-necked, draping dress. There’s animal print faux fur—mostly leopard. Fabric draped off the shoulders, or over the back, cape-like. Lots of feathers.

The collection is more than any one thing. Lanvin integrates a range of silhouettes, creating balance between the simply tailored and the frivolous, the slouchy and the cleanly cut. This type of cooperative disunion is particularly evident between Sialelli’s womenswear and menswear lines. If the former draws from the “dynamic energy of the 1920’s,” when the French house had its start, the latter is rooted in a very modern conception of international streetwear. Featured in the menswear collection are oversized trousers, long, boxy coats, and Lanvin’s coveted ‘Curb’ sneakers and house slippers.

The result is a dream of luxury, embodied. It’s dress-up at home, but also novelty, and travel. Sialelli stresses the collection’s irony: “It’s second degree. It’s ‘If I was a rich girl…’” Indulgence is foreign in a time like this—Lanvin has represented its most unattainable bounds. It poses the question, is there anything wrong with grand imagination?

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