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The Exclusive

Lanvin’s 10-Year Anniversary Collection

Mr Lucas Ossendrijver’s exclusive new capsule marks a decade since he kicked off the designer sneaker revolution

  • Mr Lucas Ossendrijver’s debut collection for Lanvin, 2006. Photographs by Mr Giovanni Giannoni/REX Shutterstock

Ten years is a long time – and especially in fashion. Back in 2006, we read actual newspapers and actual maps, we rented DVDs and still listened to CDs. The Financial Crisis hadn’t happened. We were yet to meet President Barack Obama or Ms Kim Kardashian. We had not anticipated the boom of YouTube vloggers, Uber or Instagram, Netflix or Tinder. And, compared to today, the menswear industry was tiny.

In 2006, a little-known Dutch designer called Mr Lucas Ossendrijver moved from working under Mr Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme to take up the position of head of menswear at Paris’s oldest French fashion house, Lanvin. It’s a position he still holds, which is remarkable when all about him Parisian fashion houses are losing their creative heads. There have been sweeping changes at several top brands, including Dior, Saint Laurent and Lanvin following last year’s removal of creative director Mr Alber Elbaz, who was Mr Ossendrijver’s mentor and someone he described as a “father” figure.

  • Mr Lucas Ossendrijver. Photograph by Ms Viviane Sassen. Courtesy of Lanvin

When Mr Ossendrijver started at Lanvin, he was charged with creating the perfect wardrobe for men. “It wasn’t about making a very fashion-forward collection. It was about what men need. We decided to develop a new silhouette in suiting and jackets, so everything became softer with less shoulder pads and a more generous cut.”

“In fashion, [10 years] is like three lifetimes,” says Mr Ossendrijver, 46, in his sing-song Dutch accent, speaking from his modest and surprisingly cluttered office in Paris’ 8th arrondissement. “The hardest thing in fashion is to last.

“At Lanvin, it’s very important that there is an ease to the things we do,” he says. “Our pieces should be easy to wear, not high concept. I make clothes that people will actually wear. For me, the biggest compliment is to see someone in the street wearing something Lanvin.”

Mr Ossendrijver could arguably be credited with pioneering luxury sneakers as well as starting the trend for wearing sneakers with tailoring, bridging the gap between casualwear and formalwear.

To mark his 10 years in the job, Mr Ossendrijver has created an exclusive capsule for MR PORTER. There is no over-arching theme, as such. “But I wanted all the pieces to have a feel of being hand-finished and I kind of stumbled on this spray-dying technique that we used for a few of the pieces,” he says.

There is what looks like a classic burgundy suit. “But it’s not,” says Mr Ossendrijver. NB: he doesn’t make classic suits, it’s always separates.

“Because it’s nice to have different textures and different colours, so it’s always slightly ‘off’,” he says. “It’s more rich and varied. So this is actually a separate pant and jacket in deep burgundy flannel, which is a typically Lanvin colour, and they have been sprayed by hand with a black finish. There’s a human touch to it, which I like – you can see the handwork.”

The capsule also features two shirts – one navy and one grey, both with contrast piping – that are “a cross between a bowling shirt and a pyjama shirt, but a little more chic”. There are also some recurring motifs in the collection: embroidered patches of a key and a flower – a reference to Lanvin’s AW16 collection, which features several such emblems – “all things that are touched by hand”.

Are these items that we might find in Mr Ossendrijver’s own wardrobe? “No, my wardrobe is very uniform, a lot of the same things. Designing for me is always some kind of fantasy on somebody else. I never really think about me when I design, it’s almost like I want to disappear and not think about it.”

Looking ahead, where does he see himself in 10 years? “Gardening in a quiet spot somewhere,” he says. “Preferably in a sunny place by the sea.”

The anniversary collection

  • Lanvin Burgundy Slim-Fit Overdyed Brushed Wool-Gabardine Suit Jacket

  • Lanvin Burgundy Slim-Fit Overdyed Brushed Wool-Gabardine Suit Trousers

  • Lanvin Appliquéd Brushed-Satin Bomber Jacket

  • Lanvin Appliquéd Wool-Twill Bomber Jacket

  • Lanvin Slim-Fit Appliquéd Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • Lanvin Camp-Collar Piped Cotton and Silk-Blend Shirt

  • Lanvin Grey Slim-Fit Puppytooth Brushed Wool-Gabardine Trousers

  • Lanvin Tapered Pleated Virgin Wool Trousers