Gimmick-y. Louis Vuitton SS23

I’m having a hard time in understanding what’s Nicolas Ghesquière‘s Louis Vuitton is about lately. Once a leader in fashion that was both ergonomic and absolutely intriguing, for seasons now the designer does some of the most gimmick-y fashion – and not in an ironic way. Also, I can’t picture who is actually wearing Louis Vuitton’s women’s ready-to-wear, expect for celebrities who are trapped by life-long contracts. The last show of Paris Fashion Week doesn’t feel like a cherry on top, but an event to which people feel forced to go to… because it’s LV after all. The show’s location was Cour Carrée. Ghesquière invited his longtime friend French artist Philippe Parreno to create an installation, and together with the Hollywood production designer James Chinlund they created a set that felt a little as if a spaceship had landed in the heart of Paris and the aliens had set up a fun fair for locals to see the special attraction. “It’s the first time I designed a collection in dialogue, in correspondence, with someone,” Ghesquière said at a preview, adding that Parreno’s sculpture was in fact “kind of a flower, a carnival flower.” Its massive proportions inspired the supersizing that happened on the runway. The cloche clés key holder that accessorizes many of the brand’s bags was enlarged, as were its Vachetta leather luggage tags, and the wallet that Ghesquière wears on a chain attached to a belt loop became a portfolio that the models clutched to their hips. Most of it looked silly. Something similar was happening with the cumbersome clothes. You might recognize the giant zipper pulls on HoYeon Jung’s opening look from one of the first Ghesquière collections. The designer reported that they’re the largest ever manufactured, and the process of zooming and exaggerating one element of a garment led to the scaling up of other parts as well. Which explains the hyperbolic neckline and hips of Jung’s crop top and skirt, and the oversized straps dangling from the inner hems of vests and jackets, like sportswear panniers. “There is always that game of what is real and what is manipulated,” he explained. “Being with Philippe and working through the eyes of an artist,” Ghesquière said, “sometimes I had the feeling we were a little childish. I think I was maybe more free to break some boundaries for myself.” Releasing your inner child is fine. But I wish Nicolas delivered fashion that’s substantial and not so pointlessly painful for the eye.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!

NET-A-PORTER Limited