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. But there was delay...after delay...after delay. The former Ultimo location stood dim, only with those now-famous French cartoon ladies giving hint to Lanvin's imminent unveiling. Then finally on Dec. 17, Lanvin quietly opened. The erstwhile Ultimo space gave way to the monobrand's neoprene and peplum dresses, chic leather flats, coveted bib necklaces and...men's. Upon entering Lanvin, you forget that the store used to be Ultimo once upon a time. It's brighter and seemingly more airy since it is 1) filled with fewer pieces on the ground floor, and 2) the ground floor houses the men's collection, so no long dresses or frill to take up space. Some of the standouts on the floor include the parlor-esque feel with its "sitting/waiting area" with dim lighting, as well as a spectacular ochre-colored silk taffeta blazer with black contrasting lapels. Oui, oui monsieur!
Once the elevators open onto floor two, you feel as if you're in the closet of one of Chicago's most fashionable denizens, say, Desiree Rogers, perhaps? To your right you'll find jewelry galore: the sold out eagle necklace and chandelier earrings. You'll also find some handbags. As you look left, you will stand catatonic, mouth agape, looking at the elegantly stacked quattrocento, forget-me-not-blue (as Alber Elbaz calls it) boxes, in which Lanvin's stellar stilettos sit atop. The lovely blue boxes with black ribbon look as if they're strewn about in the most chic way possible; effortless in their beauty. Once you see them, you may even want to ask to take a box home, sans shoe, just to prett-ify your living quarters. And on the wall? Ballet flats of every color and ethnicity (skins--python, ostrich, calf) to suit your fancy.
Lanvin's third floor is home to what we like to call quintessential Lanvin: architectural cocktail dresses and formal gowns, and other gorge ready-to-wear pieces. It's quiet and sparse, and feels like a large dressing salon. We're sure that if you wanted a glass of champagne to make you feel like even more of a princess, they'd probably grab you one! Even the lighting is done so that you'll look your best against the stark white walls and parquet flooring.
The verdict: Lanvin exceeded our expectations and we're so happy that fashion's oldest couture house touched down in our fair city. The staff, made up of former Hugo Boss and Tory Burch alums (among others), brings the best customer service to you in a non-stuffy, but attentive manner. And you know what we love even more? The fact that they've only been open a month and are already having a MA-JOR sale--30-50% off. If you've been eyeing that sculpted back drape shift dress from AW13, now's your chance to grab it.
· Lanvin [Official Site]
· All Lanvin coverage [Racked]