The magnificent Louvre, which is the setting for this season’s Louis Vuitton collection, provides the looming, imposing backdrop to clothes that are complemented by distorted, futuristic jungle music. The outfit opening the show consists of a shell or sports jacket of sorts with a glossy beach print featuring colours such as palm green, turquoise, tangerine and mustard against a white background. This is worn over a short white sun dress with alternate white and coloured pleats. The most remarkable element of the outfit, however, are the billowy, batwing-like sleeves. White shift tops and black tunics furnish a background for beautiful, eye-catching prints in colours that would not look out of place in a 1980s surrealistic advert. These are completed by oversized suit jackets with compellingly geometrical lapels. Rather than being glitzy, the footwear consists of patent wine ankle boots. As the music turns ominously and cinematically orchestral, the pieces proceed to a greater level of complexity, with ruffles under the enhanced sleeves, monochrome mini-dresses and stylish black patent ankle boots, this time with a medium heel. The colours remain a mixture of light aqua, yellow ochre, white and black, either accessorised with chic black mini-clutches or the classic Louis Vuitton travel handbag. Flamingo pink and sunset orange materialise on the eye-catching prints, and hoods begin to appear on the slouch jackets. Though the patterns recall the eighties, the barely-there make-up sported by the models most assuredly does not. Trouser suits featuring oversized jackets and more of the brightly-hued prints jostle for attention with baggy beach shorts paired with, amongst other things, a pristine white shirt. Most of the trousers featured are loose and three-quarters in length, with a slight bootcut emphasis at the bottom. Other outfits present culottes, surely one of the defining trends of some of the collections reviewed on this site so far.
One of the statement pieces teams a black top with white ruffles and batwing sleeves excitingly layered with chiffon, contrasted sharply by straight but skimming black trousers embellished by a multicoloured print that could be straight out an early MTV video, perhaps by Peter Gabriel or Steve Winwood. The models are severe and unsmiling, some of them deeply androgynous, providing an ironic contrast with the cheerfully garish eighties prints, especially those adorning sun dresses. A few of the bags seem to have been based on children’s lunchbox or juvenile mini-suitcase designs, using bright canary and mimosa with vermilion as the staple colours.
The show’s formal wear appears to present metallic and bright paint-box colours in a mesh, web-like material which is – once more – reinforced by enormous, structured sleeves that remind you of a rather avant-garde suit of armour. More elegant, less eccentric dresses offer, for instance, small silver shapes against a plain white background and delicate, web-like sleeves in the place of the almost grotesquely huge ones previously described, or straight-leg satin cropped trousers, decorated with a busy pattern and matched with a burgundy jacket. Kodak-themed mini skirts are followed by functional flat jackets and straight-leg trousers in fawn and light aqua, both embellished with the abovementioned geometrical patterns. Some of the funkier evening dresses boast fringed sleeves which looked as if they have come out of a paper shredder. Though floral patterns do not dominate, they are seen to emerge from the shadows in the show’s latter half. One of these looks like an inspired late seventies to early eighties take on a William Morris design, and the jumpsuit enhanced by these shapes indubitably counts as another favourite of mine.
The collection bounces back and forth between futuristic minimalism and nostalgic happy prints with interesting, structured silhouettes, and might have posed a challenge for some audience members. One thing is for sure – it keeps you guessing until the end.
- Eighties graphics and prints – the more colourful, the better
- Geometric influence in patterns and the cut of some items
- Fringed sleeves
- Structured batwing sleeves
- Evening clutch bags with unusual, severe or distorted shapes
- Bags emulating childlike shapes
- Slightly baggy, straight-leg trousers
- Over sized suit jackets
- Artistic prints seemingly derived from eighties advertising campaigns
- Bright colours – turquoise, pink, orange, canary yellow, mustard, fern or palm green
- A web-like design for evening dresses
- Flat patent ankle boots
- Pixie patent boots with a medium heel