the trailblazers, part I

When I say trailblazers, I'm thinking about people who work outside trends and hone their craft and think about moving fashion forward, but not at the expense of women looking for something to wear. And no one, I think, exemplifies this better than Alber Elbaz at Lanvin. It struck me that my first reaction to any of his collections, especially in the recent two years, is "Well he's not doing anything very new here is he?" And his latest collection is exactly that; there are lots of riffs on things he's been doing for the past few years. Is that a bad thing? In the case of Marni, it was - boring, anyone? - but Mr Elbaz didn't merely replicate; he took the time to refine his ideas. The oversized lapels/shoulders/ruffles he introduced for fall has been streamlined for spring; the Fortuny pleats he did for spring two years ago have been soften and delicately edged with ruffles for a flowy silhouette that's perfect for the mood right now. The clothes are graceful, flattering to a variety to ages and shapes, and look like pieces to love and treasure and wear, not "collect" for an archive, or discarded after the novelty wears off. And it's imitable - you won't even bother looking at the shabby copies at Zara. Lanvin is fresh, modern, timeless, and effortessly elegant - and because that's quite rarity amongst the countless collections, that makes Mr Elbaz a trailblazer in my heart.

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