Bosses at Louis Vuitton must be smiling like Cheshire cats, grinning from ear to ear, maybe even turning cartwheels – as well they should be. Fashion is in the flux of a game of musical chairs, again, and even the houses that aren’t, rumours will always circulate around them. But wow did Vuitton get it right when it hired Nicolas Ghesquière, who presented another stellar collection at the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation this morning on the final day of Paris Fashion Week.
A computerised voice introduced the spring/summer 2016 show as “A journey to the frontiers of the digital era”. Who knew where Ghesquière’s spirited parade of intergalactic punky girls were headed? Through some virtual parallel universe or to some underground nightclub – wherever it was, with that awesome wardrobe, we wanted in.
Inspired by the heroines in video games: be they slayers, warriors, or upstart vixens, he hit refresh on the urban wardrobe and it packed a powerful punch. Models whose hands were banded in leather ready for fighting had a gait that was fast and mechanical. They wore rebooted kilts in studded leather with looped strapping, waistcoats in the classic graphic damier check, or leather jackets dripping in jangling zips and tricks with sleeves painted in red stripes and the house signature monogram.
A series of over-dyed washed silks were worked into jumpsuits, ankle-skimming gowns with studded bibs, or into a trench coat that looked like buttery suede. Ghesquière also brought back the return of colour-blocked Bermuda shorts and the bubble skirt, that Eighties favourite, now reprised in white cotton poplin. Their armoury included the mini locket bag studded and tasselled, and a larger carryall; imagine a bin bag bunched at the top, and carried on its side. Grounded with whip-stitched creeper sandals or polished steel toe-cap cowboy boots, it was romantic and tough in equal measures, and mined the house’s savoir-faire; craftsmanship was as much front and centre as the fantastical ideas. This was Ghesquière’s best collection yet, and a highlight of the entire season.
This show we were transported to planet H&M for its own interpretation of the lunar landings – the Grand Palais transformed into a space-age, sci-fi hub – with tinfoil-like pods sitting along the catwalk (out from which later, men appeared and the cocktail party began) and many Barbarella moments to be had.
“We wanted to turn it up a bit this time,” said H&M’s head of design Ann-Sofie Johansson after the show, which saw Caroline de Maigret start proceedings in a silver all-in-one, making her way down the catwalk. Which had us wondering what the clothes that followed would be like.
“Hard metallics, space shapes, interiors, quilting,” reeled off Johansson of her references, the space-ageness aspect turned down and translated into a functional-meets-sporty collection. Step forward a host of huge quilted bags and jackets; caps with every look; a moonboot-sneaker hybrid; lots of spangly sequins and silhouettes that riffed on the Sixties to Seventies.
“It’s been 50 years since the moon landing, the film Interstellar,” Johansson continued. “It’s about something glamorous and cool, effortless, quite practical – we’re from Sweden!”
She had a great model line-up to assist her fashion orbit: Kendall and Gigi and Edie, while Audrey Tautou and Mark Ronson looked on.
And why still Paris? “It’s still the ultimate fashion city,” she said. “It’s a great challenge and we love a challenge.”
PARIS Fashion Week might be winding down but the clothes on the catwalk just kept getting better. Three seasons in and Nicolas Ghesquiere is undoubtedly feeling more confident in his Louis Vuitton artistic director role – this a collection that continued to combine that clever blend of savvy, rock ‘n’ roll and retro that so belongs to his girl and bring with it a real sense of him, what he did back in his smash-hit Balenciaga days.
He and Hedi Slimane are both designers that very much cater to that certain breed of “cool girl” and while Slimane sticks to his guns of an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, Ghesquiere gave his girl a whole new wardrobe this season. It felt fresh, it felt exciting and there was a lot to love – mental shopping lists were being compiled here, starting with the vanity case bags that so suitably riffed on the luggage heritage of the house, and ending with the retro shaggy coats that had a wonderful passed-down feel about them, the light catching them in such a way that a yellow fleck had a lovely aged quality as though the pieces had once belonged to your very cool mum back in the day.
In between and it was about cute ribbed knits with peekaboo cut-out décolletage details, their edges gently curling up, one covered in diamante. There were the most perfect leather miniskirts that came with two-inch incisions slicing into them – it was about that level of detail, that all made it dreamy.
Chain belts dangled with silver medallions and the signature Damier Louis Vuitton check was transposed in fuzz on skirt and jacket looks to feel really special. Tailoring throughout was impeccable and that opening series of super shaggy jackets was all about a wonderful enveloping volume, a supersized nod to Margot Tenenbaum perhaps.
Still complete with Ghesquiere’s magic touch, it had moved on – more of him coming through to great and covetable effect.
Well, the Parisians know how to end with a bang—especially when it comes to what we want to be wearing next spring.
At Balenciaga, all-white lacy Chinatown-style spa slippers ruled the runway, while Céline’s two-tone ankle boots were similarly both sensible and compellingly chic (if less tongue-in-cheek).
Translucent accessories emerged as a micro-trend, with PVC paneling lending itself to a sporty vibe at Loewe and Chanel.
At Vetements, Demna Gvasalia’s thigh-high embroidered boots—part wader, part cowboy—felt off-kilter and cool in all the right ways. For those with more classic intentions, the exquisitely crafted necklaces gracing the models at Valentino were breathtaking, while at Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière stuck to the brand’s traditional monogram logo but splashed it across new bag shapes, including a sharply pleated drawstring backpack that left us swooning.
There was truly something for everyone. (Now whether there’s something for every budget, on the other hand . . .)