Finally, a Louis Vuitton collection by Nicolas Ghesquière that doesn’t look like a cartoon. The concept for the autumn-winter 2023 collection came to Ghesquière after returning home from traveling last year, when the world was finally opening up again. “What is French style?” he said. “It’s an ambitious question, but being at Vuitton you have a certain responsibility because the name of the brand is so strong in the world.” His idea, he explained, was to ask the young designers in his studio for their takes on the subject. “Since they’re so international, I was curious to know what would they think.” Unsurprisingly, they all came back with “very different things”, which isn’t necessarily what all the ridiculous handbooks on Parisian style dictate. According to this offering, Frenchness in fashion is the Tricolore, which the studio reproduced on a blue, white, and red quilted shoulder bag, and leather gloves. It’s the Opéra Garnier, which inspired the light-up Phantom of the Opera masks. And it’s the Cinq à Sept, which is a local colloquialism for an affair, that was alluded to here with a series of sumptuous dressing gowns, pajama tops, and plush faux fur shorts. This was a collection that was in touch with the street, with a few nods to the designer’s sci-fi obsession, softer and more down-to-earth. A close-up look at the clothes revealed intriguing details: the camel coat in look 14 may appear to be wool, but it’s actually leather, first embossed, then printed. The jewellery was inspired by musical instruments (the trumpet brooches are too good!). Also very desirable: a finely embroidered slip dress worn with a chunky hand-knit scarf thrown over the shoulder and boots. Asked if he came to a conclusion about French style, Ghesquière shook his head. “No. Every season we try to answer that question, but without saying it. This season the difference is we own it. But French style belongs to everyone.”
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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