Spring 2003 Lanvin by Alber Elbaz Strapless Printed Silk Dress w Feather Trim Runway Sample Dress

Spring 2003 marked Alber Elbaz's second collection for the Lanvin and the reviews were very positive. Vogue's Sarah Mower said of the collection; 'Bouquets are due Alber Elbaz for excellent taste and innovative design aimed directly at the sophisticated women of the world. His spring collection for Lanvin was a rare vision of luxurious dressing, balancing luster with rawness in a grown-up, wearable way.... The designer also has a genius for dresses, which came in many variations on the goddess theme.... As a collection, Lanvin was a highly considered—and considerate—piece of work, executed with an impressive degree of respect for real women.' Besides being a documented runway piece and one of the genius dresses Vogue referred to, the dress is especially interesting because of the tag that is inside. Normally the ready to wear tag has the company name and the date of the collection noted underneath. This tag is larger with just the Lanvin name and has a hand written #39 on the tag. There is also an additional hand written tag. Given that this was look 39 in the show I am sure that this is the actual runway sample. The inner work is all by hand and has the look of a sample dress finish. This makes it extremely rare and a piece that Alber would have worked on himself and handled. Especially considering it was only his second show for Lanvin! He would have been completely hands on with each piece. It is an exceptional and early example of his work. We lost Alber this year and it is an honour to have such a beautiful piece of his work from early in in his career with Lanvin in the shop. 

It isn't until you put this dress on that you realize just how masterful the draping is. It is the easiest dress to wear. There is wide ribbon of elastic running around the inner top edge of the dress. You just slip the dress on and it falls to the floor in one perfectly draped column of silk chiffon. The silk is gathered along the top of the edge and then top stitched into place. It skims over the bust and falls loose and easy over the waist and hips so that it is incredibly comfortable and accommodating once on the body. The silk has a beautiful block print on the terracotta chiffon with one side of the dress left as a solid colour with no print. I love how this break the print up and adds more visual interest. A second layer of chiffon sits under that top layer and it is also printed. Both layers have a touch of transparency to them so that the two prints on each layer are slightly offset. This gives the print an extra dimension of depth as they move over each other when you move. The very bottom of the hem is an earthy brown and there is a band of feathers that runs around the hem between the print and the solid bottom layer. The edge is left raw and there is a tiny dot of the red spaced out all the way round the edge of the hem. On each hip there is a slip opening that has been done on both layers. There is no actual pocket but if you look at the runway footage that I have added you can see the other two dresses that were done in this same print. One of those was worn belted and draped. I think he added these slits onto the dress so that if you wished you can add a belt or a ribbon to wear low on the hip or at the waist. Or perhaps they tried it belted and instead wrapped the ribbon around the neck. They way it is now give you some versatility. Adding a ribbon or a belt would change the line and length of the dress and gives you many more styling options. And in referring to that ribbon - you will also notice that the runway photos show a ribbon wrapped around the neck and one shoulder. This was not sold with the dress. It was a styling edit done for the runway and you can see ribbons used in different variations on other looks in the show. It would be very easy to just add a wide black ribbon and recreate if you wanted the same look as how it was presented on the runway. The dress is absolutely gorgeous and a wonderful example of his work and a piece of his history with the brand. Excellent condition with a minor note below

Unlined and slips on with an elastic running through the upper edge of the bodice. Slips along the seam of each hip as described above and photoed. The measurement range below is the comfortable range of the fabric lying flat. It is very accommodating and will should fit a variety of sizes. There is one repair on the back solid part of the ham - with the feathers above it you don't see it when the dress is one. It otherwise appears to have never been worn, or worn very little

Elastic at the top of the bust: 14-20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist-hips: open to 30" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 56" from top of bodice to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-LRG

Item# DD3686

Reference Photos: (1-3) Spring 2003 Lanvin Runway Collection, Look 39.  /  (4) Credit unknown.

This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.

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