From the archives: That time Ghesquiere designed his first collection for Louis Vuitton

Model Freja Beha Erichsen walking non-chalantly towards infinity
Model Freja Beha Erichsen walking non-chalantly towards infinity

A first, solemn “thump” and there they were, the blinds at the Vuitton show space in the Coeur Caree of Le Louvre opened to let a glorious sun inundate the venue: an airy labyrinth of big white blocks for the guests to sit and look at each other, prey of the most absolute excitement.

When the second “thump” blasted out from the speakers, the electricity in the air reeked already of genuine anticipation: the opulent theatricality Marc Jacobs got us used to at Vuitton seemed to have suddenly developed into the fashion equivalent of a fizzing glass of bubbles. The most noticeable feature of such change was the predominant lack of nostalgia in the production and set design for the show, it looked in fact as if projected into the immediate future, a feeling of now-ness rarely experienced at previous shows for the brand.

At the third and last “thump”, Kelis’ smooth moans welcomed the audience into attention; the show started and from there onward it is all history: First of all, Freja Beha Erichsen, where have you been in my life? The A-line black leather coat she modelled in the first look worked as a splendid introduction to the show.

Nicholas Ghesquiere seemed, really, to have been working with an imaginary Louis Vuitton woman, never completely portrayed in the label’s imaginary yet: In many ways the work of the designer related in so many ways much more strongly to the leather goods heritage, instead than taking the leads straight from precursor Marc Jacobs, who introduced the ready-to-wear line sixteen years earlier. Leather was one of the main components of the collection DNA. On a broader point of view, the new Vuitton pap aligned to the successful menswear range, directed by designer Kim Jones: It is interesting to notice how Jones is famed for starting a collection with a place in the world, emphasising travel as one of the label’s pillars, a concept that apparently translated to Ghesquiere’s work.

The girls that walked this very first show seemed all en route to the luxurious ski resorts at Coeurchevel, in the French Alps, the ideal settings for the 1970’s inspired Aztec inspired prints on jumpers and sweaters. As it has been said earlier, the show didn’t have the strong nostalgic connotations of a Marc Jacobs show, however there were clear reminiscences to the last few collection Ghesquiere designed for Balenciaga where he admittedly toyed with an unmistakeably Parisian approach to 1980’s volumes. As a matter of fact, the broad shouldered tops that made their appearance in this show hardly came as a complete surprise. Volumes were indeed a great feature of the collection, focusing mostly on the dichotomy fit versus flare: A-line dresses walked down the runway alongside high waisted super-fitted trousers, a harmony carefully balanced by the clever usage of panelled leathers and bouclé in a muted palette of burnt orange, caramel and black.

The show ended on the sinuous notes of “Haunted” by Beyonce, the diamond on the tiara of a fast-paced soundtrack that had our feet tapping instantly.

It was then, when all the looks walked in front of us simultaneously that the collating touch of the newly appointed designer was most visible, Ghesquiere stayed true to his taste, leaving us, the exhilarated public, wanting to see more after such a powerful new beginning.

By Matteo Sarti

Originally published on Lujon Issue 1