PARIS–Lucas Ossendrijver designs Lanvin’s men’s line, not Alber Elbaz, the genius behind their women’s (and the character from Alice in Wonderland that Lewis Carroll never wrote). In his short time at Lanvin, Ossendrijver has blown critics away, transferring the simple, sporty elegance that Elbaz has brought to women’s across to men’s.
But Ossendrivjver and and Elbaz share more than an employer (that would be Taiwanese media heavy Shaw-Lan Wang).
Despite their considerable talents, they’ve both been bounced around, fairly or unfairly. Elbaz worked with Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche and spent a short time at YSL. But the company was sold to the Gucci Group soon after Elbaz took the reins, and that shop went to Tom Ford. Ossendrivjver comes from the Dutch school (in fact, the same school as Viktor & Rolf), and worked at Kenzo and Dior Homme before joining Elbaz at Lanvin.
The Dutchman’s path, like Elbaz’s, is evident in this quirky, but hugely elegant collection, which I would dub “Downtown Dapper.” Similar to other silhouettes this season, Ossendrijver’s look is tight and taught up top, and loose and baggy at the bottom. There’s the fearlessness and futurism of the Japanese, and the clean lines and rock-and-roll tips of Hedi Slimane’s Dior.
And yes, there were more man-leggings, these ones with zippers.
What really got me were the coats, which provided the collection with direction. A grey-blue fur bomber somehow worked on top of a classic, grey, double-breasted suit; a knee-length paddock coat, with epaulettes, and invisible buttons (they were actually held together by magnets), was ornamented with wide-brimmed, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? hat, set askew; a slim, black, decimatingly sexy number made me want to forget every pea coat I’ve owned. Even his down jackets, which I normally loathe, were tempting in the creativity held within their simple construction.
But the ultimate was a wildly original topcoat, not just in detail and construction, but in its entire shape. Hooded, button-less, and cinched at the waist by intertwined leather bands, it was something a Renaissance assassin might wear.
Like the collection, it was killer.
**Photos by Imaxtree.