This is the final day of Paris Fashion Week and with it comes an end to one of the most unimpressive autumn/winter women’s ready-to-wear seasons that I’ve seen in recent memory. Sure, there were some highlights here and there (as predicted, there is still a lot of buzz this morning about the Zoolander appearance at Valentino), but overall this season has elicited a giant yawn from those who actually pay attention. There are only a couple of chances left for the season to leave a good impression.
This wasn’t it.
In his third season with the label, Nicolas Ghesquiere as effectively turned the Louis Vuitton label into a juniors brand. I miss Marc Jacobs. I miss seeing genuine creativity on the catwalk. I miss seeing shows that were high on spectacle but still managed to produce incredible clothes once pared down for retail consumption. Sure, this collection won’t require much if any, alteration before hitting stores. In fact, buyers were able to place orders during the show. But considering none of the ensembles we saw today are likely to have anything less than a four-figure sales number the tag, don’t we have a right to expect more?
The look this season hints back at the 90s. Not the Louis Vuitton 90s, but the decade in general, with themed t-shirts and tight-fitting dresses. The space-age materials are admittedly impressive, very flexible, very light, and very durable. There were some puffy shoulders here and there, and a fair amount of lingerie-style detailing (a mini-camisole dress stands out). Trim satin suits are probably the most flexible pieces on the runway and most likely to get the attention of American buyers over the age of 18. A flared, almost peplum-like waist repeated at the hem inferred a bit of a Judy Jetson look but not enough to yank the collection out of the 90s.
Coats were a huge part at the front of the collection, and by huge I mean the initial look was rather like a polar bear with pale, skinny legs carrying its own makeup box. These furs are big and bulky and probably quite warm, but also quite expensive.
Leather also made frequent appearances at the front of the collection with short skirts and drawstring pants. Add a thin linked chain belt and tough-chic status is achieved, assuming one can reall be all that tough when the moto jacket is embroidered satin.
Part of what bothers me is that this was the youngest looking runway I think I’ve seen this season. A lot of work has been done to keep underage models off the runways and, for the most part, that effort has been successful. LVMH, Louis Vuitton’s parent company, knows how big the label is in Asia and within that market young looks rule. Obviously I don’t have the records for all the models in front of me, but there was a serious lack of maturity on the runway. While I don’t think LVMH means to totally ignore the European and American markets, this strong play to Asian buyers isn’t likely to increase sales in Western markets where women over the age of 25 are more likely to have curves, careers, and a more refined wardrobe.
I understand the need to pay attention to the bottom line. What we saw this morning, though, was absolute pandering which is neither creative nor attractive. I had hoped for more from Ghesquiere. I’m really missing Marc Jacobs right now.