A few thoughts on Louis Vuitton, as Paris closes.

Alexander Fury
Vuitton 225x300 A few thoughts on Louis Vuitton, as Paris closes.

Looks from the spring/summer 2014 Louis Vuitton show

I love a train-spotting fashion collection. The Louis Vuitton show contained echoes from Marc Jacobs collections past – and not just in the set. Although that was the most obvious. Models rounded the fountains from winter 2010, went up the lifts from winter 2011, along the corridor of hotel rooms from winter 2013, past the train station clock of winter 2012, down the escalators of spring 2013, past the carousel of spring 2012, up, down, back around. You were giddy by the end of it all.

It reminded me of the board game MouseTrap. The aim of that game being to build a mechanism to capture something. At Vuitton, the mechanism is capturing attention, and netting sales. Marc Jacobs has done some extraordinary things during his sixteen years at Vuitton. These sets were pretty great, but the soaring sales figures are even more exemplary.

There were also echoes of Vuitton past in the clothing, ghosts even. The Sprouse Graffiti tag, Jacobs’ creation that has become as recognisable as the Damier or LV monogram, marched across multiple garments. There was something in the proportions that reminded me of Jacobs’ old collections too, as well as a few specific details – the flower buttons studding one epaulette I remembered from the winter 2012 collection, and the encrustations of tiny flowers recalled the sugary-sweet carousel show.

Here, it was all recoloured black. As was the set. It was a nightmare to take pictures. In fact, there was something nightmarish about the whole thing, in a Tim Burton kind of way. But it was undeniably, unequivocally and unexpectedly beautiful.

Jacobs stated that “when I look around Paris it isn’t the depth of the city that takes my breath away. It’s the decoration and the applied ornamentation that dazzles.” Maybe that was begging us not to look beyond the surface of these gorgeous clothes, to enjoy the spectacle rather than analysing the meaning. Certainly, the dark palette forced you to inspect the surface intently. And you were so caught up in the giddy extravaganza, you didn’t realise quite how terrifying these phantoms of Vuitton past really were. It was an awe-inspiring show.

In fact, it was just inspiring.

Backstage after the show, Louis Vuitton Chief Executive Michael Burke confirmed that this was Marc Jacob’s final for Louis Vuitton. An announcement will be made in due course as to his successor.

This collection was dedicated “to the showgirl in all of us.” Marc Jacobs is a consummate showman. And he’ll be a hard act to follow.

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