A spirit of youthfulness at Lanvin Menswear Fall/Winter 2020 Paris, which staged a fine, optimistic show and collection, freely inspired by the dashing and eccentric cartoon character Corto Maltese.
Staged in the Neo-Brutalist concrete Centre National de la Danse in the Pantin suburb of Paris, this Lanvin show was faintly spasmodic as the cast came out in oddly spaced gangs and as individuals, the fruit, in part, of staging a runway over three floors.
Referencing his youth in Marseilles, the clothes imagined by Lanvin designer Bruno Sialelli had lots of kicky insouciance, rather like Maltese himself, whose author Hugo Pratt was a graphic novelist who ended up living on a spit of land at the southern tip of Venice.
The result was some cartoonish yet quaintly cool ideas. Dude white shirts emblazoned with the profile of the seadog captain and beautiful aqua blue naval scenes.
In terms of tailoring, Sialelli whipped up some navy officer blazers, naval cadet striped shirts and sailors’ pants – all easy and boyish. And fun too, like the leather sailor shirt over-dyed with images of Cortoʼs adventures with South Sea Island pirates. Knits came with embroidered sea birds, gulls and albatrosses.
Yet while frequently nautical, there was a skateboarder twist throughout, albeit rather bourgeois boarders – with double-face cashmere parkas, and several really dapper baby blue check cotton shirts worn with matching summer cummerbunds. Or, most eye-catchingly, sequined check jerkins, for when a skateboarder wins an Oscar. Many seemed like crazy young men with a sailor father from Cornwall, and a gypsy mother from Seville, just like Corto Maltese.
Sialelli’s biggest skill is mixing funky street and fine fabrics, seen in his dip-dyed turquoise pants and a wonderful selection of funky boots. Notably rubber boots finished with beveled heels, or great lazy lad sneakers held together with humungous laces.
“Its my Peter Pan syndrome, talking about the naivety and expectations of youth. As a child I was obsessed with Corto Maltese, and his beautiful stories and wardrobe. That blended with the punk couture of skateboarders, like Jason Lee and Tony Hawk,” explained Sialelli post show.
Profiting from the presence of female supermodels in Paris for next week’s couture season, this Lanvin catwalk also featured appearances by Gigi Hadid in a damsel-in-distress all-black combo and Bella Hadid, stomping about in a polka-dot halter-neck dress in diaphanous silk.
At times, Bruno Sialelli does lack a self-editing button, and one always thinks at his shows that there is much work for a good merchandiser, yet this joyful fashion expression felt very needed, especially in todayʼs angry France, beset by transport strikes and Yellow Vest protesters. Doubly so on a Sunday, when conservative Catholic marchers closed down the center of Paris demanding no state aid for gay people attempting to have children.