There are heritage fashion brands, and then there’s ‘Lanvin heritage’. One of the eldest French fashion houses in existence (the brand began as a hat shop in Paris in 1889) and one of the few to have operated continuously since its inception, the task of any Lanvin creative director is inevitably tied to the preservation of history. Which can be a challenge in a fashion climate that demands youth appeal, ubiquity on social media, and a rapid response to new-season trends. How, pray tell, does one manage to blend both? It’s a challenge Lanvin’s creative director Bruno Sialelli, the Marseille-born millennial who took over the brand in 2019, has been rising to. During his tenure, much of which has been obscured by the coronavirus pandemic, Sialelli has been working to marry Lanvin’s house tropes—many rooted in the Art Deco movement of the early 20th century—with modern touches.
This marriage came to a zenith at the Salle Pleyel in Paris today, where Lanvin showed its Spring/Summer 2022 collection. Sialelli took the aforementioned Art Deco shapes—sculptural pleated evening dresses, graphic floral prints, voluminous frou-frou skirts—and blended them with Gen-Z friendly elements like skin-hugging bodysuits, little silken crop tops, and low-slung trousers. “With what we have just experienced, I think we will experience a revival of the Roaring Twenties,” the designer told ELLE France. “It is interesting for Lanvin to revisit this period of history because it was a time of significant prosperity for the house. I predict we’ll live our own 20s, with our share of joys and opportunities, and above all a huge creative boom.”
Perhaps the most unexpected element was the addition of Batman and Robin motifs. A child of the ‘90s, Sialelli is a self-proclaimed megafan of the DC comic book series, and found an unlikely artistic resonance between the cartoon’s aesthetic and the codes of Lanvin. Batman motifs were printed on silk separates, etched onto crisp mens shirting and blazers, or painted onto slinky chainmail mini dresses. A handbag shaped like the Batmobile was pure Instagram bait, but nothing can shut down a feed quite like Naomi Campbell closing your show, resplendent in a Catwoman-esque black silk cape. The timing was savvy—it’s not long until Batman, Catwoman & Co. return to our screens with the sexed-up reboot starring Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz. Perhaps ‘Gotham-chic’ is 2022’s most unlikely new trend.