I like clothes that live. Clothes that age with dignity and elegance. A piece of clothing is designed to be of service, to accompany the wearer. It should emphasise a personality, not overpower it. The worst transgression of taste is uniformity.
The key to his Lanvin collections could very well be “Night and Day”, the photography book by David Armstrong which he says he has always had with him for the last ten years, like a friend providing images and inspiration. Faithful to his rucksack and his trusty bicycle, one of his first purchases in Paris, Lucas Ossendrijver is a pragmatic aesthete, a builder-dreamer, masterfully tracing his lines for style and life, beginning with reality and constantly moving forward.
He sketches little but can sew and cut and describes himself as a technician first and foremost, always and forever faithful to the idea of proportions and style.
Born 31st January 1970, Lucas Ossendrijver, Aquarius, grew up near Utrecht in the Dutch countryside amongst “trees, horses, stags…”
His father owned a construction company: “I often went with him to lumberyards and work sites. As a child I loved building wooden things.”
At the age of seven, he understood that his future would not be with nature but “elsewhere”. At Arnhem Fine Arts College this young man who had never seen a fashion magazine grasped it through his learning process. “Expertise”.
In 1993, his graduation collection was all black poplin with different weights for each piece. “A style exercise built around restriction.”
This conceptual and pragmatic apprenticeship was decisive for him. Today he explains: “I need to appropriate things to move them forward.”
Still learning, day after day. Lucas Ossendrijver’s past masters include Jil Sander, Helmut Lang and Rei Kawakubo, adding to the apparent austerity of the cut a certain sensuality with leather touches and details in the craftsmanship that never betray a legacy; they subtly beautify it.
From Kenzo and Kostas Murkudis to Dior Homme where he worked for three and a half years under Hedi Slimane, Lucas Ossendrijver passed through very different worlds before arriving at Lanvin in 2005.
In 2016 his passion remains unfailing, nourished by research in shapes, materials and details. His is the work of a master conductor supervising a dozen employees to create a hundred and fifty to two hundred models per collection, every season.
At Lanvin, in his office with its magnificent view of Paris’ blue-grey rooftops, models from the “work-in-progress” collection stand to attention, like promises to come. “Everything stems from function. The difficulty is translating ideas in an urban way, then allowing the references to fade away. Otherwise its gimmicky, anecdotal…everything I hate.”
A collection springs from a feeling, an idea, a reaction to the previous one. Learning and mastering. Those are my two obsessions. I hate anything escaping me. I like being able to control a shape without it becoming too rigid.