The final day of Paris Fashion Week started off cloudy, still damp from yesterday’s rains, the air a bit cool. One has a bit of a walk from the parking area to the entrance of the ultra-modern Louis Vuitton Foundation building and more than a few young fashionistas were questioning their wardrobe choices as they scurried across the sidewalks and into the relative warmth of the building. Previous seasons, creative director Nicolas Ghesquière has played off the natural contemporary architecture of the show space built into this massive facility, but for this season he revamps the room, bringing in over 2600 video screens that together create massive display walls of light. The effect was unique, striking just the right tone for this very futuristic collection. Then, as the show started, the walls moved, changing the flow of the runway, punctuating the electronic soundtrack from the movie TRON with the percussive noise of industrial hydraulics.
Ghesquière finally seems to be settling into his own at Louis Vuitton, giving us a collection that is less pop-sugar and more substantive style than we’ve seen the past couple of seasons. He’s definitely pushing a futuristic look, and a voice-over at the beginning of the presentation talked of playing in a giant sandbox where anything might be possible. At the same time, the video screens were showing a person wearing virtual reality goggles, invoking a sense of maybe this is real, maybe it isn’t. In the future, who can tell?
What’s certain is that Ghesquière’s look is distinctive. Let’s start with the severe crop on ruffled mini-cape tops. We’re showing more than just a bit of midriff here. The look is more daring, especially as the leather pants and shorts ride lower on the waist than most we’ve seen this season. Those pants and shorts are worth talking about, also, with their unique color blocking scheme that implies a futuristic tone, especially when paired with a new boot design that comes a couple of inches above the ankle. A new glove design that resembles the taped hands of an MFC fighter is also an important part of this look and an accessory Ghesquière uses surprisingly often.
There are other futuristic elements at play here as well. We see a lot of dark colored mesh, ripped sleeves and metallic openwork. Prints on jumpers give them an aesthetic like they might be suitable for space travel, though the fabric is much too light. He uses a lot of puffy mini skirts as well, though I’m not sure those are likely to be as well received. They certainly didn’t die the most noble of deaths back in the 90s. The prints on leather jackets are cool, though, and provide a much-needed refresher on moto jacket styling.
Seeing this collection restores a bit of my faith in Ghesquière. I had grown quite concerned after last season’s nonsense that he was being too commercial, leaving the creativity for which he is known on the Foundation’s doorstep. This spring/summer look is more what we expect and one I hope he continues to pursue.