This is what you call a show. Chanel did a faux Ancient Greece venue at Parisian Grand Palais; Prada took us to Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle’s attic; Dior had its guests see the show in the middle of a Californian canyon. But Nicolas Ghesquiere, and his team at Louis Vuitton, outdid himself. Again. The Miho Museum, a half-hour drive from Kyoto, is one of the most spectacular and out-of-this-world buildings in the world. Designed by I.M. Pei, the architecture of this place reminds you of some utopian space odyssey – and that’s precisely what Nicolas wanted to achieve, sending down a line of futuristic silhouettes with equally futuristic setting in the backdrop.
*1,2,3. Territory by The Blaze, Indestructible by Robyn (remixed). Just wow.*
Continuing to love Japan and its culture, the creative designer of the French maison did an impressive job in conveying his long-term relation with the country. He found just the right balance, not falling into oriental stereotypes, and what’s worse, cultural appropriation (a frequent problem among other designers). Those were the modern-day, badass attitude samurai girls, wearing over-sized biker jackets with leopard prints, skater shorts and weaved leather vests. Kansai Yamamoto was on Ghesquiere’s mind while designing the collection – that’s the Japanese designer, who dressed David Bowie in glittering jumpsuits and paved the way for Yohji Yamamoto and Kenzo Takada few decades ago in Paris. Now, his bold, artistic legacy gets a revamp according to Vuitton codes. Handbags with Kabuki eyes, prints of local fishermen, a variety of toned colour combinations: Japanese avant-garde of the late 20th century goes slightly more French, more refined. In an effortless, loose way. The collection, in overall, has something of Ghesquiere’s early Balenciaga days. But the designer has already established his language at Louis Vuitton – so it feels just the right way.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
The last few days of Paris fashion week were rather unimpressive, and that’s a pity, as the season had many great moments. While Miu Miu was quite a joke, Nicolas Ghesquiere‘s collection for Louis Vuitton made me think of the designer’s past. His work at Balenciaga was unforgettable – the vision of future wardrobe, über-cool spontaneity, memorable shoes. His very first collections at Vuitton were incredible, too. But for the last few seasons, Ghesquiere seems to rest on his laurels: biker-girl gears, satin dresses, sporty knits. Same story of a “contemporary girl”. Maybe he didn’t want to introduce anything new this season? Designers slowly start to turn their heads towards being permanent in terms of fashion. But Nicolas’ autumn-winter 2017 collection wasn’t classic. It didn’t have a spark. Well, yes, it was presented at the Louvre. But shouldn’t the clothes be in the spotlight? Big, corporate brands like Louis Vuitton tend to put pressure on things like settings, handbags, etc., but it hurts to see how Ghesquiere’s bright talent begins to drown.
Nicolas Ghesquiere chose to show his spring-summer 2017 collection for Louis Vuitton not at the usual location (Fondation Louis Vuitton), but in the brand’s future boutique. Place Vendome store is opening in 2017, but the decision to stage the collection in this raw, yet beautiful space, was a prove that even though Louis Vuitton might go to far-fetched destinations (like Palm Springs or Rio), its spirit stays in Paris.
When Ghesquiere worked at Balenciaga, his connection to the city was reflected in flirty dresses, unconventional elegance and intriguing layers – in other words, his aesthetic was the soigné embodiment of ‘Parisian chic’ myth. Throughout his Louis Vuitton tenure, Nicolas went global, slightly forgetting about his old, good affair with the city of love. However, the newest collection is just it: an elevated wardrobe of timeless pieces with the right dose of French borgeois. Drenched-in-gold jewellery; masculine blazers; Parisian model “off-duty” look feauturing grunge (or not so, with all those embroideries) t-shirts. How good can it be?
The 80’s are continously embraced by editors and stylists of such local magazines as Vogue Paris or Self Service. While the creative director is friends with them, the mood of this decade has been present in every single detail, from the ‘night-out’ make-up to crystal-embellished slit gowns. For a moment I thought that this is what Lanvin should look like now with Bouchra Jarrar – but then, you can perceive Ghesquiere’s hand in those tailored pants and desirable biker jackets. Magnifique!
All eyes are on Southern America in fashion industry, lately. A few weeks ago we had Chanel nailing frivolous dresses in Cuba; yesterday, Nicolas Ghesquiere presented one of his best collection to date for Louis Vuitton, in Rio De Janeiro. For resort 2017, the house chose another vacay-fit destination with an arty edge – after Monaco and Palm Springs, Brazil was the next stop for Nicolas during his Vuitton journey. Staged in futuristic Niterói Museum of Contemporary Arts, the utopian construction was designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the 90s. The erratic structure of the museum perfectly matched the modern attitude of Ghesquiere’s newest creation.
The concrete runway, surrounded by water, was as spiral as the high-tech cuts on the dresses; sporty windcheater coats and studded, “deconstructed” dresses oozed with athletic vigour and breezy softness. But even during his far-fetched travels, Ghesquiere always stays the same guy from Paris. The collection was filled with colour and flesh-exposing details, yes, but Parisian elegance was present in these cool, black pants, corset-tops and ecru blazers. Unconsciously (or not), the designer brough some old, good ideas back from his cult Balenciaga-era. If you look through Ghesquiere’s Balenciaga time-line, and then see his latest Vuitton outing, the defiant, yet very feminine aura is alive. I missed it for the last few seasons, and now I’m very happy it’s back in form of unconventional flats and layered looks.
Moreover, resort 2017 at Louis Vuitton is an important beauty statement. Forget the rule of “same hair for every model”. It’s all about the personality – from Tamy Glauser’s boyish cut to Natalie Westling’s untamed, ginger curls, Nicolas and Ashley Brokaw (model casting director) prove that Louis Vuitton girl is all about beautiful diversity. I respect them for that every season, honestly.
Collage by me
Even Nicolas Ghesquiere needs a break. Although Louis Vuitton‘s creative director look always into the future, and wants to be as fast as his muse, Lightning, the hero of Final Fantasy XIII and face of the house’s most recent campaign, this season it’s distinctly visible that Ghesquiere is having a throwback to his best Balenciaga and Vuitton moments. Not that the collection is bad – quite the opposite, this chic, luxe Tomb Raider girl is Nicolas’ long-term concept, which both excites and sells. But it just feels like the autumn-winter collection doesn’t have this sense of new, which is always conveyed in his collections. How many sweatshirts will we see, or those satin, sporty dresses? And why are the last-season’s patent-leather boots again in the show (well, because they were best-sellers – but I doubt whether Ghesquiere’s aim is to go Valentino’s path and become an accessory-loving, commerce-wise designer)? Believe it or not, but this collection looks usual and quite easy to pull off, and even more banal, when you are Nicolas Ghesquiere. Phoebe Philo can confess she is having a chill – but I doubt Vuitton’s designer, noting the capacity of the brand, can let himself for a system hang.