Lanvin's swirling sensuality gives women wings

Long pleated skirts that swirl and spin around body-hugging tops: Alber Elbaz hopes that his light-as-air new look for Lanvin, unveiled on Friday, will make women "feel they can fly.

"

"Strong and sensual", Lanvin's woman dared to step out in flat sandals and draped toga dresses that shine for their simplicity, in a palette of sustained colours dominated by desert tones and blues.

US singers Janet Jackson and Lenny Kravitz and the burlesque strip-artist Dita von Teese were among the famous faces who sipped champagne while waiting for the spring/summer ready-to-wear show to kick off - a good hour late.

Simple short sleeveless dresses were worn with wide belts, under silky drapes that wrap around the shoulders and slide down the body. Navy blue was layered on lighter ice blue or chestnut, or khaki on green.

Stretchy ankle-length dresses hugged the figure, sometimes revealing a rounded shoulder. Others, in tight pleated fabric, were an explosive cocktail of bright colours, greys and mustards.

Cristal-embroidered cocktail dresses were paired with stiletto heels.

Five black models, wearing leaf-motif silk prints, closed the show to warm applause.

Backstage, Kravitz said he found the collection "both simple and dynamic".

For Alber Elbaz, the biggest challenge of all is to "make confort glamourous".

Fashion should be "a second skin, that allows women to be beautiful but also makes them feel good. They have to feel that, dressed like this, they could fly away."

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