Protesters from Exctintion Rebellion crashed the Louis Vuitton show, leading the industry to reflect on the crisis of overconsumption.
The next time you’re invited to attend a grand ball that takes place at an undetermined location in history and space, and you’re whisked there by time machine, you’ll get your dress code needs met by Louis Vuitton. Imagined by Nicolas Ghesquière as being created for a “grand bal of time,” his Spring/Summer 2022 collection takes modern silhouettes and mashes them up with French neoclassical fashion. To set the stage, Ghesquière displayed an assortment of elegant chandeliers inside the Louvre’s Passage Richelieu, whose silhouettes echoed the garments on the runway below.
Slim, romantic tops etched with embellishment and embroidery were paired with massive panniers skirts and trousers that jutted away from the bottom at 90-degree angles. These statement pieces lead the show, creating an atmosphere of whimsical speculation: what if fashion from every era came together right now?
Ruffles and ruching and lace peeped from every surface, creating a kaleidoscope of textures. These densely crowded surfaces were paired with smooth jackets, denim trousers, and handsome blazers in order to assuage the doubts of those who wondered how wearable this could all be. Elsewhere, there were enormous shaved fur capes trimmed with leather paneling, tiered lace gowns (with matching capes), chiffon jumpsuits topped with dramatic leather vests, asymmetrical cowl-necked onesies, gleaming black puffas, and more. Accessories held their own when paired with even the most over-the-top ensembles and included batwing sunglasses, thick glossy gladiator sandals, quilted carry-alls, and lace-up peep toe flats.
Yet as wonderful as the collection – and the atmosphere around it – were to behold, the talk of the show was the disruption that occurred when protesters from Extinction Rebellion crashed the runway. After the tumult that forced the fashion industry to engage in dialogue regarding how to make fashion better and more responsible in a post-pandemic world, the protester’s insistence that “overconsumption = extinction” was not easy to dismiss. Yet, as many commenters pointed out, luxury Louis Vuitton goods are not the disposable sort, and are not recklessly contributing to the demise of the climate like fast fashion is. The visibility of the moment (whether or not it pertained to the show or brand at all, the message was still valid) reminded us that the time when we could merrily stick our heads in the sand and ignore the crisis is long over.
After the TUMULT that forced the fashion industry to engage in dialogue regarding how to make fashion better and more responsible in a post-pandemic world, the protester’s insistence that “OVERCONSUMPTION = EXTINCTION” was not easy to dismiss.