Louis Vuitton’s Rococo 'n' Roll
Just when the rumors had grown louder than whispers that Nicolas Ghesquière’s position at Louis Vuitton might by a little in doubt when along comes the designer and delivers a smash-hit, bases loaded, grand slam home run of a collection.
An unlikely, but beautiful, blend of his favorite raw material, chic active sports clothes, mixed with 18th baroque costumes and a dash of Rococo 'n' Roll. The result is a great, paradigm-breaking collection that will be highly influential worldwide.
Opening with dazzling embroidered jacquard frock coats – worthy of the greatest dandy or mistress in the Sun King’s court, though cut to allow a busy woman to go about her day with ease. The first look said it all: a glittering silver frock coat paired with light turquoise running shorts and chunky high-powered ergonomic sneakers with little tiny LV tabs at the heels. The coats all cut with massive French cuffs, left unbuttoned.
“Exploring how to incorporate costumes into modern fashion, into an urban wardrobe. Anachronism with a hint of romanticism. I think we all need that these days,” said Ghesquière outside in the fresh air, as he posed for photos with Jennifer Connelly, Cate Blanchett and Alicia Vikander.
He revealed that a visit to the Metropolitan Museum in New York to study its 18th century frocks was a major inspiration. “So, I enjoyed mixing that flamboyance into the sports clothes that are in everyone’s wardrobe today. I like women wearing sneakers with an extreme look, like these French and English menswear coats,” he smiled.
Every so often, he suddenly sent out some sculptural, mono-color leather looks, with chess piece silhouettes, or a few rock festival T-Shirts to keep his audience guessing. Before marching toward a dramatic finale – a quartet of ravishing cocktails in mixes of white silk, silver mesh all cut forgivingly away from the body, but still very sexy. Unlike his recent mega-strict collections – much adored by France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron, who did not attend the show.
Ghesquière also mixed in plenty of great bags, from a few in matching golden leather to grained leather totes. Fittingly, the show was staged inside the Louvre, in the Pavillon de l’Horloge. Effectively an immensely long corridor built around a giant medieval city wall deep underneath the great museum. Along an under-lit glass catwalk the cast – and talk about a great series of beautiful unknown faces – marched to the thundering orchestral music.
The collection marked the first by Ghesquière since his design director Natacha Ramsay-Levi departed to take over at Chloé. And, one sensed Ghesquière was liberated – presenting his best collection for Vuitton, since his epic shows at his previous job for Balenciaga. Asked whether her departure had liberated him, he responded politely. “I missed her, but I think it liberated us both.”
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