La-la-la-Lanvin!

Today is the day!  Thousands of fashion lovers all over the country have been poring, surreptitiously at work or unapologetically lolling on the sofa in a full-on fashion coma, over their computer screens, hearts-a-flutter, to admire and absorb the preview images of the forthcoming Lanvin for H & M collection.  And it is fair to say that very few of us have been disappointed.  Lanvin is a label built on craftsmanship and desire, and Elbaz specialises in imbuing killer dresses and accessories with a tantalising fairytale factor that no would-be princess could willingly pass up.

Regal, ruby-red ribbon choker

It’s a super-feminine, uber-covetable range of pretty pieces; beribboned, bejewelled and perfect for the party season, and full of Lanvin trademarks like romantic ruffles and stunning fabrics.  Think modern Marie Antoinette.  The sheer diversity of what is on offer is applaudable; everything from frocks to heels, jewellery, bags, coats and even menswear.  I highly recommend that you acquaint yourself with each and every lust-inducing item, so that come November 23rd, you can make an educated lunge for whatever takes your fancy most.  But here are my highlights, so steer clear!

Asymmetric acid-tone ruffle dress

 

Ruby gobstopper-stone earrings

 

Sheer ribbon blouse

 

Chain and flower-detail bag

 

Double-breasted satin coat

 

Pointed floral slippers edged with duck-egg bows

 

High-neck paper-chain-effect LBD

 

Ruched bow-detail skirt

 

Strappy floral tiered cocktail dress

 

Black leather ribbon-tie gloves

 

Bubblegum pink flounce dress

 

Tulle and ribbon tee

 

Lanvin faux fur jacket

 

Coral jewel-collared dress

 

Full-skirted tulle layer dress

OK, so the above wish-list isn’t so much select highlights as practically the whole collection! But I couldn’t resist showcasing all of these Lanvin lovelies: ladies, see you at the checkout!

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Lanvin and lovely!

And so the countdown begins!  November, this year, will not only be the month of smoking bonfires; scorching hot designs from Alber Elbaz, fashion maestro, for high street monolith H & M, will be served up on November 23rd.  Tantalising previews are to be released on November 2nd, a mere two days after Halloween (and Lanvin seems to be channelling a spookish theme with its all-black palette, and a wraith-like model who rather resembles an aged Daphne Guinness by way of Karl Lagerfeld).

Whatever the inspiration, the collection is set to be fabulous, eclipsing even the grand and zany heights scaled by Viktor & Rolf for H & M in 2006.  The above preview promises a moody opulence, with racy hemlines, asymmetric necklines, and volume, texture and embellishment (glorious pearls!) in typical Lanvin abundance.

With one month to go, I’m seriously thinking of setting up a special savings account.  Apologies in advance to my nearest and dearest for the inevitable modesty of this year’s Christmas presents…

Not So Unique At Uniqlo

 

After the merry-go-round of the past month’s fashion shows, with all their colour and noise, brilliance and bravado, it is customary to retreat with some relief to the relative normalcy of the high street, and to crave simplicity in quiet tailoring and seasonal staples.  Uniqlo is one such haven: a calm, ordered arena of basics and fail-safes, well-made and affordable.

The latest Jil Sander for Uniqlo collection, Uniqlo+J, which launches today, is the sort of high street/designer collaboration that sets the pulses of fashion editors, style journalists and general clothes-horses everywhere racing emphatically upwards.  Megastores such as Topshop, H & M and Gap are famed for their partnerships with elite fashion houses, and these limited edition collections are the subject of feverish countdowns, wild internet rumour, and tend to sell out in just a few short hours.

 The most recent installment of Uniqlo+J is bound up in the same sort of fanfare, but does it deliver?  Collectively, the clothes comprise a mood-board of the moment; a lesson in minimalism, they are understated in shape, in muted tones, referencing the season’s love affair with colour-blocking, utility wear and, um, beige.

Sander presents us with utilitarian workwear, in honest, no-nonsense colours and fabrics.  However, far from suggesting itself as a modern and clever uniform for daytime, as seen recently at Chloe and Celine, Uniqlo’s latest offering is surely too drab, sparse and insipid to constitute anyone’s wardrobe of choice?

These are pared-down basics; stern, unremittingly stripped-back, and eye-wateringly dull.  Super-sensible tweed and wool skirts are paired with an uninspiring parade of plainness; cable knits, coats and cardigans.  Woollen accessories are functional rather than directional, and generally come in a blurry ‘whatever’ shade of dire monochrome.  The colour palette of nudes, navy and grey is muddy, lacking the clarity and warmth of autumnal ochre, caramel and toffee, seen elsewhere all over the high street.

 There are so many boatnecks and funnel necks one would almost think there were some sort of steamship theme going on.  Alas, there is nothing ‘full steam ahead’ about this collection.  It resembles instead a shapeless mass slowly drifting into a drab horizon, blending indifferently with a slate-grey sea.  That, or a sinking ship…

This navy blazer, fluid and expressive in shape, is one of the few saving graces in an otherwise graceless tide of overwhelming mediocrity.

Sartorially, Uniqlo+J is a far cry from another collection that launched this week, Burberry’s ‘Winter Storm’ for A/W 10.  Lean, mean and much more magnetic, it hinges upon pieces of complex texture and craftsmanship, from plush quilted biker jackets to a thoroughly modern update of the classic and quintessential trench, in a shimmering oil-slick of patent black.

It is with a giddier impatience than ever that I look forward to November, for the grand unveiling of the stratospherically exciting Lanvin collection for H & M.  Here’s hoping for drama and theatrics, velvet and luxe satins, exquisite, deep-throated jewel tones and gorgeous embellishment courtesy of the great Alber Elbaz.  Just keep it as far removed as possible from the current Uniqlo collection, and I’ll be over the moon…