Lanvin is revisiting a historic menswear service 'Made-to-Measure'
The perfect fit
In 1889, a mother named Jeanne Lanvin made such beautiful clothes for her daughter Marie-Blanche de Polignac that they began to attract the attention of a number of wealthy people who requested copies for their own children in Paris.
Soon, Lanvin was making dresses for their mothers too, and some of the most famous names in Europe were included in the clientele of her newly launched boutique on the rue du Faubourg. By 1909, Lanvin joined the Syndicat de la Couture, marking her formal status as a couturier – and a super label was born. It was around ten years later that she introduced menswear.
Having already launched a series of initiatives to mark 125 years of the label this year, the historic French fashion house has not only conjured up a dedicated online time capsule to celebrate its rich history and opened its doors to Jeanne Lanvin's personal office space in Paris – it's also reviving a bespoke men's service that harks back over 30 years.
During the mid 1980s, Lanvin introduced an opportunity that allowed a new way of personalising men's tailoring; sitting halfway between a full-bespoke service and ready-to-wear clothing. The manufacturing process is also deemed 'halfway' as the initial elements to a suit are factory-produced, with the final alterations made by hand.
Since Lucas Ossendrijver's arrival in 2006, that brought a new more contemporary cut to Lanvin's menswear (all the while making the most of the house's expertise in the field), he has concentrated on the essence of Lanvin's suiting design.
Unlike a fully bespoke service, made-to-measure adapts existing designs according to the client's measurements. The information is logged on cards requiring fifty or so variables. During the final fitting, the last alterations are done by hand to ensure a perfect silhouette – either fitted and devoid of darts, or the timeless classic cut. Streamlined and yet allowing extensive personalisation, this is a service really aimed at men looking for comfort and aesthetic appeal, much like those mothers who called on Jeanne Lanvin over a century ago.