Lucas Ossendrijver is writing the next chapter for Lanvin
The 1920s saw a landslide of changes to the worlds of fashion and design, and Jeanne Lanvin, founder of the eponymous brand, was at the heart of this revolution. In 1926, the Parisian designer created Lanvin Tailor-Shirtmaker and Lanvin Sport, at 15 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, along with a large workshop, the first opened in Paris by a dressmaker.
From this base she created her first necktie collection, then took charge of the accessories section, designing modern ties that matched with the baguette socks and dress handkerchief she also designed. Frock coats and double-breasted suits followed, in cuts that are closer to today’s styles than the pre-World War One era. These men’s outfits were complemented by Lanvin Sport, which aimed to ensure the comfort of her customers for the country, travel, weekend and “sportsperson” types.
And this is where we see the unbreakable links between her vision and what head designer Lucas Ossendrijver is creating right now for the brand. The handmade element is still just as important, even on the more modern T-shirt’s top-stitching. And if the suits are now deconstructed, blurring the lines between casual and formal, they are still recognisable as suits, and are handcrafted to the same standards as 90 years ago.
How would wearing a pair of trainers teamed with a deconstructed suit sit with Jeanne Lanvin? Though we can only speculate, the archive drawings shown here perhaps offer some clues. The fitted tail coats, top hats and high-waisted trousers might be a thing of the past, but we see similarities in other areas today. For example, the belted jacket seen in 1933 has a strong resemblance to the modern lightened, raw-seamed suit versions.
Ossendrijver is aware of this DNA more than anyone. Now celebrating more than 10 years with the brand, the Dutch designer has spent the last decade immersing himself in this history so that he can carve out the future of the menswear line. “Lanvin has an amazing archive for womenswear, but for men there was hardly anything. So I had to build that from scratch, which gave me a lot of freedom. When I arrived in 2005 I would often go to the bespoke department to see the tailors work. Everything is done by hand and every stitch has its purpose. I find this very inspiring.”
Lucas has imposed his own signature for the Lanvin man, saying: “It is all about individualism, and thus we propose options; we do not dictate.
For a man, it’s always about a jacket, pant, shirt and sweater. What I try to do is make each item new and exciting, so they have a value of their own. I do this by creating new proportions, new silhouettes; it is a play with opposite volumes that creates energy and makes you look at classic garments with a new eye.”
The AW16 collection, pictured above, sees a juxtaposition between the undone and the smart, along with sportswear elements. These elements are married by a palette of greys, inky blues and dusky blacks. This is the new diversity of the dressed-up man. Provenance matters, as do comfort, style and individuality. Let’s ask that question again: would Jeanne Lanvin recognise these outfits as her own? Yes, we very much think she would.