Devotees of the exquisitely draped dresses Alber Elbaz has conjured throughout his first decade as Lanvin’s artistic director have reason to rejoice: The designer is releasing a covet-worthy book to celebrate his tenure at the iconic (and oldest) Paris atelier.
Alber Elbaz: Lanvin hits select stores this month (locally at Lanvin’s boutique at Bal Harbour Shops) and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating a collection—in this case, Fall/Winter 2011. Elbaz partnered with German publishing house Steidl—known for producing such tomes as David Bailey’s Birth of the Cool and VivienneWestwood by Juergen Teller—to craft a book that tells a concept-to-runway story largely through photography (by acclaimed shooter But Sou Lai).
A simple note pinned to an as-yet-unfinished dress, for example, reveals not only the intricacies of its construction, but also the thought that can go into something as seemingly simple as the length of a zipper. Those who wonder why a fabric might be chosen for a particular dress, or why an embellishment is deemed vital, will likewise be sated by the plethora of sketches and notes that trace the origins of a collection—from inspirations to swatches to sessions with fit models to ultimately the high-wattage presentation of a Paris runway show. But in a nod to the ultimate source of ideas, Elbaz kicks off the 704-page, gilt-edged volume (at $450, it’s undeniably a fashion keepsake) with the moment his own thoughts commence: sitting in front of a piece of stark white sketch paper. “Day after day, season after season, I face a blank page, and I have to fill it with a dream. That’s my work,” he says in this feast for the fashion senses. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-4254