Wednesday, 29 October 2014

LOUIS VUITTON Spring/Summer 2015

A vast ocean liner is steaming through the woods of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris for real. Frank Gehry’s monumental glass and steel building, all soaring steel and glass sail and hull, is the Fondation LOUIS VUITTON essentially, a container for the art collection of the Arnault dynasty, the modern Medicis of French fashion. “It is going to be an incubator of ideas for artists and other creative people,” said Nicolas Ghesquière, and he looked liberated by that impetus. In his imagination, it took but a tiny skip for the ship to become a spaceship another installment of the journey into the psychic sci-fi landscape he’s been exploring ever since he was a boy. Although, obviously never before on this scale. Or with such a sense of occasion. The Arnaults had organized the launch of Ghesquière’s third collection as a semi-private viewing, before the leather-goods mother ship opened to the public on October 27.

Fondation LOUIS VUITTON via Instagram by @andreajankeofficial

LOUIS VUITTON digital art via Instagram by @andreajankeofficial

LOUIS VUITTON S/S 2015 runway, amazing spot lights by Stefano Russo Design,
Instagram via @andreajankeofficial

As a brand, Louis Vuitton is about travel, and Nicolas Ghesquière is shouldering the responsibility for that as much as Frank Gehry did in the shape of his building. Ghesquière made the smart decision not to compete with the architecture (who could?). Instead, he led his audience below stairs into a darkened ship’s engine-room. The lights went off, the walls lit and became video screens. Huge projections of the faces of girls and boys of many ethnicities spoke in unison in words synthetized from 20 voices. Right here and now, they announced, Louis Vuitton was about to “explore any part of the universe without moving.”

Of course! Time-traveling is contemporary fashion’s reality. The way women and girls slip so easily between decades, amalgamating their favorite pieces, and never being specific about one date or the other, is exactly how we dress now. Ghesquière really does get that. He’s taken on the idea that fashion has to encompass diversity of tastes and habits. On his runway, you’ll find pragmatic, non-fashion (yet ideally proportioned) Bon Chic Bon Genre blazers and pea coats, walking easily along amongst white latticework tops, fluid dresses, and knits with rippling vertical ruffles. A group of funny white leather skirts printed with fifties cars and eighties headphones passed by (an idea taken, and updated, from the souvenir stickers travelers used to press onto their Vuitton luggage). A couple of chicks in almost skintight colorfully printed devoré velvet biker-jacketed pantsuits dropped in, as if they’d sprung right out of the seventies.

Ah, the seventies: Of course, that’s the fashion subject du saison, but Ghesquière’s filtering of the era isn’t so literal as to be theme-y. “I want to erase reference. I want to talk to multiple people. I didn’t want to think too much, just follow my instincts,” he shrugged. “And just create desire.”

If that was his target, he hit it, sure enough, with the suede patchworked boots and bags, the sequined glitter tunics, et al. Last season, at his debut, critics were quick to label Ghesquière’s clothes “normcore.” This season, he hasn’t reneged on his stated intention to give modern women a normal daily wardrobe he’s just elaborated, extended, and refined it. Maybe it didn’t look all that futuristic in the end. But then again, who needs a future-fantasy when someone can make the present look this good?

Louis Vuitton's creative director Nicolas Ghesquière

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories 

Instagrams by @andreajankeofficial

Stills & Runway
Photo Credit/Source: VOGUE
Photos by Kevin Tachman & Kim Weston Arnold

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Valli says he's reached a point of clarity in his career: His couture is an expression of the art of his atelier; his ready-to-wear is industrial craft, as mass as the production of these clothes is ever likely to get. This season he was fascinated by Japan's postwar Metabolist movement, which balanced industrial and artisanal design, the machine and the hand.

Giambattista Valli Spring 2015, my visit at the showroom in Paris.
Photos via Instagram by @andreajankeofficial

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