Each season fashion brands vie to have the greatest show on earth, this season it looks like being Louis Vuitton’s turn.
The house caused a Blade Runner worthy traffic jam on the Champs Elysées Monday afternoon, with about 5,000 pedestrians and tourists crowding around Vuitton’s new building at number 103 on the most famous avenue in the world.
Three months ago, this monumental former bank headquarters was meant to be Dior’s new global HQ. And draped in gray and white, with Dior toiles displayed on the façade. But in a dramatic change of plans, the owner of Vuitton and Dior – LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault – has now given the building over to Louis Vuitton. Massive silvery Vuitton monograms now cover the exterior.
No wonder Vuitton’s CEO Pietro Beccari was in such an ebullient mood, posing with his wife and two daughters inside the building, which is still very much under construction.
Draped out inside entirely in tangerine plastic sheets and a bitter orange catwalk, before the audience took their seats. The entrance of each star heralded by roars outside from the street – Zendaya, with a canvas bustier topped white dress, she had to demurely hold together; Saoirse Ronan, Jennifer Connelly with hubby Paul Bettany. Plus, Cynthia Erivo in a futurist swimsuit and cape; alongside Cate Blanchett in a checkered flag jumpsuit.
In all black: Chloë Grace Moretz, in a leather ensemble, and Phoebe Dynevor in a crinkled leather cocktail. In florals – Alicia Vikander, Léa Seydoux and Ana de Armas. The full-throttle glamour of the front-row underlining Vuitton’s pulling power.
This season, no show will generate as much excitement as Vuitton, one of 67 runways displays in the nine-day season featuring 107 brands on the official calendar. The season ends tomorrow with two more major shows – Chanel and Miu Miu.
Finally, the models appeared wearing a very powerful collection indeed, another exuberant blend of futurism, French historicism and dashes of couture by Vuitton creative director for women Nicolas Ghesquière.
Opening with a series of blown-up baseball jackets paired with flouncy skirts, dissected with his signature double wrapped, half-tied nonchalant belt.
Ghesquière blended elements of menswear – Spencers, banker’s stripe shirts and Scarlet Pimpernel stripes – with feminine touches – cinched leather corsets and necklace print miniskirts.
He then wowed with balloon shaped plaid tops and a great series of leather biker jackets cut with rolled trims and hems.
He anchored everything with twisted leather high-heels that suggested a handkerchief being tied in a knot and showed a long series of great bags. In a great insider joke, he showed bags made like old-fashion leather camera cases, as if mocking the very paparazzi world this huge show attracted.
A very French moment heightened by the soundtrack – three tunes by new French star Zaho de Sagazan, who like Ghesquière loves to jumble up eras and influences in her art. In Zaho’s case synth pop, kraut rock and Jacques Brel.
Ghesquière, who declined any post-show interviews and didn’t bother with program notes, took a long tour of the runway, dressed in a double breasted suit, looking almost bashful, even as he won a standing ovation. While outside, around the corner scores of tourists stood patiently in line to enter the Louis Vuitton existing super store at 101 Champs Elysées, to keeping fueling the world’s biggest luxury marque.
This season, Nicolas feels like ‘The Man‘ again in Paris.
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