Louis Vuitton: Richelieu 'n' roll, amid climate protest
No one could accuse Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquièreof lacking imagination. He packs more ideas into one look that some designers instill into a whole collection.
Even if climate protestors clearly couldn’t care less. The show was briefly interrupted by a protestor bearing a banner reading 'Overconsumption = Extinction,' before being pulled off the catwalk. In a surprising security lapse at an LVMH show.
Giant flame-shaped golden shades; gilded sequined gowns, exploding below the waist into an asymmetrical crinoline shaped like military epaulettes, platform patent leather boots, laced at the front and studded at the side. Add a pink Vuitton bag over the shoulder, and that was just the second look.
Practically every passage was an assemblage of ideas and epochs in Vuitton’s Spring/ Summer 2022 collection, unveiled at the Louvre Tuesday night, the last day of Paris Fashion Week. A denim jean jacket ended up being a 19th-century frock, and a micro-sequined tank top grew into a lacy crinoline.
If you want a rock-star top in broad vertical stripes of black and silver sequins, then be prepared for one that comes staggered down just one side. While a sublime 12-button blazer ends up being a mini-cape, worn over the shoulders of gold lace and embroidered religious soutane.
Warming to the spiritual theme, Nicolas even produced a golden cardinal’s skull-cap with golden braids.
All staged inside the Passage Richelieu, the link between the Rue de Rivoli and the Pyramid of the Louvre, done up with scores of giant chandeliers and mirrored walls. Backing up Ghesquière’s concept of a timeless “Grand bal du temps,” where epochs, codes and garments dissolve into new concepts. His title for the collection? 'The Transmission.'
Cardinal Richelieu 'n' Roll, Catherine de' Medici mode, where working materials are used for grand ceremonies and opulent fabrics given modern kick.
“Tonight, the weather is nothing. But time is everything,” read Nicolas’ release.
However, the weather gods didn’t quite agree, as guests arrived in gentle sunset, before having to depart in a sudden downpour that took on Blade Runner-worthy proportions as the audience practically scrummaged to make its way past the several thousand fans outside. Who went into piranha-like paparazzi feeding frenzies as the celebs made it outside.
The house, in a generous gesture, wisely had scores of young Parisian gents hand out sturdy umbrellas to each departing guest.
Testifying to the power of Vuitton, scores of proper VIPs showed up in the early warmer weather. The professional paparazzi at their happiest on seeing Ana de Armas, the new Bond Girl, dressed in a sleeveless pink Vuitton double-breasted coat dress. Closely followed by possibly Ghesquière’s biggest fan – Alicia Vikander, in a white blouson with patent leather shoulder patches.
From major league actresses – like Isabelle Huppert, Catherine Deneuve, Regina King and Jennifer Connolly – to happening new stars – Phoebe Dynevor of Bridgerton fame and Maria Bakalova to a surprise appearance by Olympic diving champion Tom Daley, there was no shortage of star power under the latter day Hall of Mirrors.
As for the clothes and striking accessories: Ghesquière may not be universally admired for his culture bending style. He always elicits far more love from French critics than foreign scribes. But he consistently packs loads of hit bags into his shows, ending with some great patent leather totes that you know will spark a huge wave of buying, keeping the cash registers turning at the most profitable luxury brand on the planet.
There is no smoke and mirrors in Vuitton’s Hall of Mirrors.
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