The house spent its LVMH budget well this season with a marvelous plywood set within the Cour Carrée of the Louvre Museum for the final show of the Paris runway season. Two parallel walls of bleachers looking at an enormous wall, twice the size of most city billboards. Upon which was projected a video of transgender singer Sophie, singing an extended version of her single It’s Okay to Cry.
It made for a sensationally dramatic opening. Then, as rosy-fingered sunset laid her hands on the skyline background behind Sophie, a trapdoor below her giant chin opened and the cast appeared.
Vuitton’s women’s designer Nicolas Ghesquière cannot be faulted for a lack of imagination. He also can never take the easy way out, and dive into Vuitton’s fashion archives for the simple reason that they are less than two decades old.
His ensembles tend to be techy mash-ups of widely variable material. Chambray check shirts with billowing sleeves are worn over zig-zag sequined tanks in candy-wrapper hues, all over a jutting black tutu skirt. Or gray check kicking fabric waistcoats over blood-orange high-collar shirts and striped gangster pants with patch pockets. Nearly every look finished with fabric button hole flowers.
If that sounds like a series of unlikely combinations, that’s because it was.
Ghesquière clearly has some clever cookie working in his prints department, making beautiful fresh, comic book, magnified floral prints. Plus he is a dandy at tailoring, whose sleek pantsuits in sherbet colors all looked great.
Moreover, one cannot fault his sense of humor – one great monogram-print tote was finished with photos of a stack of VHS videos. The designer even whipped up a video tape clutch.
But overall there was a horrid lack of any self-editing, as if that function was entirely missing. Nearly every look seemed to have gone one step too far, like outfits designed for movie stars who believe they don’t actually need a stylist to dress them anymore. The place was indeed packed with musicians and cinema stars: Jennifer Connolly, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Justin Theroux and Emma Chamberlain to name a few.
There was a time when Ghesquière, at his previous job at Balenciaga, was the most important agenda-setting designer in Paris. Not anymore.
That said, after the tumultuous final notes of Sophie had begun to fade, Nicolas took a long tour around the timber auditorium to great applause. Two sections – the VIPs and the LVMH honchos – on their feet, the rest of the audience, from buyers to editors (with Anna Wintour noticeable for her absence) considerably more muted.
The general air of elite self-satisfaction extended to the post-show, when the audience walked out into the latest intense rain showers to dampen this season in Paris. Hundreds of guests attempting to exit the main courtyard of the Louvre via the Passage Richelieu, as thousands of tourists do each day, were physically repulsed into the heavy rain by a squad of heavies, while a PR flack called Hillary loudly proclaimed that the public passage was “reserved for VIPs.”
Contritionem praecedit superbia et ante ruinam exaltatur spiritus, as the Ancients wisely believed.
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