PARIS • Bouchra Jarrar pulled off an impeccable debut at Lanvin on Wednesday at Paris Fashion Week, despite the storm clouds swirling around the label.
The 45-year-old French designer took the helm of the fashion capital's oldest couture house in March, five months after the shock sacking of its charismatic creative director Alber Elbaz.
Lanvin has come through a complicated time, but Jarrar's first collection was without cacophony or discord.
The clothes balanced age and innocence, what is revealed and what is concealed, good taste and bad.
Liquid striped menswear suiting was paired with elongated chiffon shirts in a contrasting stripe left to flow out the back, white satin slip-dresses draped on one side to reveal a cowl lined in black, and pencil skirts slit to one thigh paired with bibbed tuxedo shirts winking sheer at the back and sides.
Jarrar, who has her own line, also matched her signature motorcycle jackets with fragile floor-sweeping pleated skirts.
She said she was zen despite all that was riding on the show, with Lanvin's turnover sharply down.
"I hate stress, I am someone who likes to anticipate things even if it means I have very full days," she said.
"I love to dress women, to reveal them to themselves... to cross borders between femininity and masculinity. Hence a wardrobe which shall evolve and echo itself from one season to the other."
The critics seemed to approve of her, with The Wall Street Journal's Christina Binkley tweeting afterwards that "Lanvin's fortunes are about to change for the better".
Also making news on Wednesday was singer Rihanna, who presented her second Fenty collection for Puma.
She said before the show for the German brand, which was streamed live on Tidal: "Let's do this thing. Let's make some money."
Backstage, she said her inspiration for her range - hoodies, rompers, Puma-labelled lace fans and pink bow backpacks - was "what if Marie Antoinette went to the gym".
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES