Normally at this point in Paris Fashion Week, we’re making the trek out to LVMH headquarters for Nicholas Ghesquiere’s latest Louis Vuitton collection. This morning, however, for reasons not fully evident, the show took place at the Place Vendôme, an 18th-century square right smack in the middle of Paris. Chances are you’ve seen the pictures. There’s an immense statue of Napoleon I that’s rather difficult to miss. It was here, with guests happily, carefully, sitting on Charles Macintosh chairs (there’s something anxious about sitting on a work of art) that Ghesquiere showed his very contemporary and, in some opinions, rather wild selections for spring/summer.
I’m not necessarily sure “wild” is an appropriate label. While the looks are contemporary, they’re not out of bounds. There is a lot of metallic thread being utilized, but that doesn’t keep the silhouettes from being wearable. What gives the pieces an edge, especially early on, is a silhouette that pulls and ties on the right hip, often leaving a triangular cutout on the left. Other adornments such as straps, bare arms, and bare shoulder treatments emphasize that pull to the right. The effect is eye-catching, especially when viewing multiple takes on the same concept.
“Fierce” is the word I would probably use for most of this collection. Maybe it’s the boots, pseudo-western styled that hit mid-calf in most cases, that give the looks that kick-ass emotion. Maybe it’s the stretch lace he occasionally uses, especially in leggings. Or perhaps its the multiple leather treatments, especially the multi-colored snakeskin pattern, that give some of the looks almost a superhero aesthetic. Even Ghesquiere’s deconstruction of the grey business suit, which is, in my opinion, absolutely refreshing, carries a sense of determination. These clothes say that the women wearing them are not messing around. Sure, they’re beautiful. Yes, they’re glamorous. They’re still smarter, stronger, and more aggressive than anyone else in the room.
Special note for Indiana readers: There is a fair amount of black and white checkerboard print in this collection, in case you were wondering what to wear to next year’s Snake Pit Ball. The matching clutch is probably the only thing you can take to the race, though. The dresses are going to be far too warm for wearing out in the sun.
Even when Ghesquiere moves into sheers, he does so in a sense of creative deconstruction, with an emphasis on the creativity. His use of curved lines is exceptionally attractive and different from most anything else we’ve seen. I still get a bit of a superhero vibe, but that may just be my own bias kicking in. From look #33 on, the dresses are all brand-new cuts for the house. He still favors the right-hand side of the body on several looks, and there are still checked patterns even in the sheer fabric, but the curves of layers reference a rock-and-roll “Flying V” shape that keeps the silhouette on its edge.
I’ve not always been a fan of Ghesquiere, especially when he skewed the collection towards more of a Juniors feel. What he presented today, though, was a good turn for the house. There are sufficient references to LV heritage but he uses deconstruction to give them a strong, fierce edge that is unlike anything we’ve seen on the runway this season. You’ll want to pay attention and possibly pre-order some of these looks as soon as possible.