Louis Vuitton: Finally the future is fashionable again
Louis Vuitton took over the Louvre again this season, and then let a rival museum – the Pompidou Centre – invade the august institution.
The house’s womenswear designer Nicolas Ghesquière built a mammoth tent inside the Louvre’s Cour Carrée – or square courtyard – and then installed a fake version of the exterior of the Pompidou Centre, or as Parisians always call it, Beaubourg – on two sides of the space. The seating even matched the candy apple red of Beaubourg’s electrical junction panels.
It was a striking visual statement of Ghesquière’s intention – taking French women’s wardrobes and projecting them boldly into the future.
He even had his cast march about the audience’s heads, dashing around underneath the imitation Pompidou, a legendary building by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, where the building’s innards – air ducts, plumbing pipes and electrical lines – are all on the outside.
Ghesquière let it all hang out in this show too. Over a dozen silver and pewter dresses were finished with silk rivulets and metallic chiffon ruffles. Big flouncy shoulder dresses with roomy patch pockets. Enough material for an Elizabethan courtier, enough attitude for a Star Wars pirate.
A modern take on Space Age with a funky mood heightened by the headgear – most of the cast wore black leather skullcaps. And, by the way, whoever is in charge of the casting deserves fashion’s equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize – the freshest selection of models in any show in Europe.
Though the French designer really hit his top gear by reprising a racing car idea he first played with in an early Vuitton cruise collection presented in Monaco. This season that meant some great jumpsuits, finished with diagonal zips; checkered-flag leather skirts and some outstanding biker jackets – which will be huge best sellers.
Moreover, the show also boasted by far the best collection of footwear seen anywhere this season – grommet covered booties, medieval page boy meets Lucky Luke.
Too often in fashion, the future looks familiar – an amalgam of Flash Gordon and André Courrèges. Not tonight at Vuitton, when the future suddenly looked surprisingly new and unfamiliar. So, even if this was an erratic collection with a half-dozen clangers, which was at times willfully experimental, it was still very much an important fashion statement, an influential collection and a harbinger of things to come in the world of stylish luxury.
As usual, Nicolas had a stylish front-row: Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Connelly, Sienna Miller, Thandie Newton and Emma Stone; though conspicuous by his absence from the Louvre was the great honcho himself. Bernard Arnault, chairman and key shareholder of LVMH, whose most profitable brand by far is Vuitton, was nowhere to be seen.
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