Spring 2021 Ready to Wear

Pictures by Lanvin


Bruno Sialelli Takes a Deep Dive into Lanvin’s Heritage, While Focusing on the Future of the Brand

The house of Lanvin has a rich and complex history. Founded in France by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889, the mother and dressmaker grew her business into a booming success by the 1920s, complete with a dye factory, perfumes, and couturier status. It is from this decade, lucrative in both sales and creative inspiration, that current Lanvin creative director Bruno Sialelli found his design insight. Last season saw Art Deco prints by Erté on bags, shirts, and hats and  buttons that were inspired by a 1927 perfume bottle, an idea that carried through into his Spring 2021 collection, as 1920s glass perfume bottle stoppers appeared as heel adornments. 

The Années Folles references did not stop there. The first model appeared in a stunning drop waist gown with a jewel lined halter and a voluminous tea-length skirt. A beaded bow encapsulated the waist. The dress was followed by others in a similar style, an ode to the robe de style fashioned by Lanvin in the 1910s and 20s, a design of dress with dropped waists and full skirts that became one of the designer’s signature styles. Sialelli replicated a near-identical version of one of Lanvin’s dresses for the first look of his show, saying that because this dress is now a part of the archives, it has never been worn or seen in modern times; it is a “re-edition”, one that aged incredibly well and gives a glimmer of hopeful glamour in this leisurewear obsessed current day. 

The robe de style gowns opened the show with strong intent and purpose, not to mention a heavy dose of elegance that we have come to expect from Sailelli. The voluminous shapes morphed into modern baby doll coats and a gorgeous black mini dress with two buttons and a shape that framed the body like a bell. Structured coats were worn loose and billowing, as well as cinched at the waist by leather belts. The collection loosened up a bit as we began to see a bit of print and color with teal tops and floral wrapped shirts and dresses. For a moment we forgot this was a Spring collection, as the show debuted at night and began with such glamour, by the time elegantly wrapped bra tops were shown with flowing floral skirts and matching traditional Chinese parasols, the lighter offerings almost seemed out of place. But Sailelli has a true talent for elegance and glamour, none of which was lost on the more casual pieces of the collection. 

As the show rounded out with a few beautiful, sheer dresses, the likes of which we have been seeing for seasons now on many different runways, the stronger closing looks proved to be the men’s and women’s silk separates, shown in luxurious hunter green and a sensual pale yellow; they perfectly embodied the refinement of Lanvin with the marketable casual wear that consumers are gobbling up these days. 

After the heady days of former Creative Director Alber Elbaz, Lanvin found itself in a bit of a tailspin, unable to land on a winning direction for the brand. A mere two years in and Sialelli has brought a voice and hope back to the house. His collections are reference heavy, and that is a smart move. There is something to be said for a luxury brand that does not fall victim to the logo-heavy atmosphere of today’s high fashion market. Do we want to see a Lanvin sports bra? Please, no. Give us all of the 20s glamour and excellence that made Lanvin a success to begin with. We need it desperately. 

Written by Elizabeth Kramsky


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