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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Lanvin

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Was it only last January that Lucas Ossendrijver and Alber Elbaz presented the fall 2009 collection for Lanvin in an old school courtyard: a marvel of flowing, pleated pants, billowy silk shirts, romantic neck scarves and cinched waist coats? That collection was a first response to the financial crisis and it was deemed appropriately somber. It was also very romantic.

This time Lanvin showed in the rococo gilt Salle Wagram, looking decidedly dance-hall louche, lit in lurid red with techno blasting at 11:00 am. Gone was any trace of somber romance as models emerged like a gang of toughs in skinny, sleeveless jackets and stovepipe pants with narrow, turned-up cuffs, hair in almost punk spikes topped with visor scarves in tie silk. These new Lanvin guys meant business and one suspects it was of the shakedown variety. There were knee pants with knee coats, confirming menswear's move to a more boyish silhouette, and still more louche details like black shirts with a sliver of white handkerchief peeking out from the breast pocket. Patterned T-shirts were studded with sequins and leather blousons showed up with matching leather shorts. The new coat was aggressively cinched and worn bloused for an hourglass shape, and there was a wider trouser which was very high waisted, marked with a narrow belt and offset with ample hips in a sort of Fred Astaire dance shape. The pants were paired with 50's patterned shirts with short sleeves rolled as high as they will go.

The end result looked like a lean, mean fighting machine, ready to seduce a younger, more body-conscious customer for Lanvin and not afraid of being pretty ferocious in the process.

—Rebecca Voight

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