Louis Vuitton: Gender fluidity for vibrant voters
With the line between women and men increasingly blurred in society today, leave it to Nicolas Ghesquière to develop a fashion vernacular that addressed that slowly melting division in a powerful final runway show that brought an end to this Paris Fashion Week.
A co-ed Spring-Summer 2021 show, and a blend of adventurous, mannish tailoring for women and women’s fabrics and finish for the men, in a striking collection presented on the top floor of Samaritaine, the latest path-breaking real estate project by LVMH.
Located on the banks of the Seine, the entire development also includes a five-star Cheval Blanc hotel looking down on the Pont Neuf and a giant experiential shopping emporium built in a landmark Art Nouveau former department store.
There has not been a lot of politics spoken about in Paris this season, but at least Ghesquière made his opinions clear. His opening model wore a loose white sweatshirt with graffiti script reading "Vote." Others had great explosive street graphics saying – "Drive," "Hooks" or "Dunce" in macho racecar colors. Many punchy designs used in taut cocktails under some great voluminous spy heroine coats.
"Stepping into a territory that is still stylistically vague. A sensitive zone that erases gender and promises exponential creative possibilities. What does an in-between garment look like? What kind of cut can dissolve masculine and feminine?" wondered the 49-year-old Ghesquière in his program notes.
Repeatedly, the Vuitton designer cut with bravura – fantastic mannish low-waisted double-breasted coat-dresses; and the best pants anywhere this season – billowing men’s trouser with ruffled trim, worn with officers' mess jackets. While his bomber-meets-spy-trench-coats will be huge hits.
The designer garnered major applause at both his shows this afternoon, with a slew of bold face names in the front-row – Alicia Vikander, Léa Seydoux, Venus Williams, Laura Harrier, Chiara Mastroianni, Natalia Vodianova, Marina Foïs, Olympia of Greece, Hugo Marchand and Woodkid.
Plus, whoever does Vuitton’s casting deserves a gold medal. In a season which introduced a whole new generation of young catwalk talent – since Covid-19 prevented supermodels from flying – no house had as rich a group of vital new runway faces.
In a neat ploy, this season Ghesquière’s famed signature tied-up Parisian belt was finished with huge military grommets. And even if Ghesquière was not the only designer to show dense micro-sequin looks, his had the most impact. Moreover, his marbleized tuxedos for guys looked sensational – especially seen against the all green backdrop and towering murals of the 19th century store’s murals of peacocks.
"There are 20 million people every year that walk from Notre Dame to the Louvre, and this place is right in between the two of them. En route, people can walk over Pont Neuf, the most photogenic bridge in the world. What’s there not to like!" smiled Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke.
Samaritaine will certainly be a new shopping concept: a blend of unique architecture, high-end shopping experiences and a culinary emporium. Its top floor will have a half-dozen restaurants, many offering exceptional views over the Paris skyline, from the Louvre all the way to the Eiffel Tower and the the Sacré Coeur.
"This floor will be beautiful, a beehive of activity. Mark my words," nodded the CEO of Vuitton, whose house will have a key boutique in the complex.
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