Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creativity, a building that is itself an amazing piece of architectural art, was the scene for this morning’s spring/summer 2015 presentation, and one has to assume it will be used similarly for future runway shows, among other things. This is an incredible modern facility about which I could easily spend a couple thousand words describing.
As guests arrived, they walked down amber hallways to the center of the facility where the room was dark, seating areas separated by large pieces of glass, the only illumination coming from inset lights in the runway. As people searched for their seats, the under-30 crowd kept asking each other about the music. Older editors and buyers recognized it immediately as John Williams’ “The Conversation” from the 1977 Steven Spielberg movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I took that as an omen, and not a good one. We’ve seen so many 1970s-referenced collections that I am about ready to scream at the sight of another ruffle layered skirt. LV creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere was only six years old when Spielberg’s movie was released. He wouldn’t really do a throwback collection, would he?
When the lights go down, projected faces appear on the glass telling us to prepare for a journey to, “A place that does not yet exist.” We are also told that, “The LV house wants to explore the ability to travel to anywhere in the universe without moving.” So, I’m sitting here in the dark thinking, “Okay, he’s taking us in a sci-fi direction, maybe.”
No such luck. Simon and Garfunkel on the soundtrack. We’re going back to the 70s. Again.
At first the looks only vaguely hinted at the decade. High necks tied with ribbon and flared denim jeans were offset by persistent use of laser cut mesh, especially in the sleeves and upper bodice. Skirts were short, usually made of leather, and block heeled boots came just below the knee. There were a few ruffles, a tuxedo-styled jacket, but then an all red leather dress with large, rounded shoulders definitely popped out from the decade and followed by digital prints gave some home that Ghesquiere was doing some kind of “Back to the Future” riff and looks were going to go more contemporary as we went along.
Floral prints and patterns came next, and with the floral came, brace yourselves, crushed velvet. I wanted to scream. Crushed velvet? Really? For spring/summer? Obviously, Nicolas has never worn the material in 90-degree heat with 98% humidity or else he’d know that combination just does not work. Sure, he nailed the look. We’re not surprised there at all. People who just can’t pry themselves away from vintage shops are going to love the high-water pants, the black lace leggings, the quilted jacket, and the velvet bikini top. Were this the only 1970s collection we have seen this season, I’m sure we’d all be quite pleased. I may be the only person in the Western Hemisphere not gushing about the collection. Regrettably, we’ve now seen over 50 different takes on the 70s decade this season and the fact that Nicolas only updates the looks with a little bit of leather, sequins, knee pads and see-through lace doesn’t justify this trip backward to a decade we’ve already visited far too often.
Remember, just a few of seasons ago, when Marc Jacobs ended his tenure at LV with an all-black collection full of sparkle and insane head pieces? Can we have that kind of creativity back in the LV house, please? I’m sure Nicolas has a higher level of creativity in him. He can do better than this. The LV house and their clients deserve better than this.
With all these varied 70s collections, I’m beginning to dread Spring.
Photo credit: Kim Weston Arnold