After a long absence from the fashion world, the king has returned. Nicolas Ghesquière is back and he’s heading the largest luxury goods brand in the universe, Louis Vuitton. The incredibly respectful and innovative designer treated the situation with gravitas and heartfelt emotion, leaving a thoughtful typewritten note on every seat, humbly expressing his “immense joy”.
The anticipatory tension in the audience as the show began was palpable. The set was simple and scaled back, which in itself marked a sea change at Louis Vuitton, where Marc Jacobs previously used a no-holds-barred approach to theatrical backdrops. Already things felt different. Light poured into the room as metal blinds lifted to reveal the first look: Freja Beha Erichsen in a simple ivory turtleneck dress and a snug, black leather coat. Ghesquière reveled in control for Fall/Winter 2014, demonstrating a keen ability to make commercial looks interesting and innovative. Hemlines were short, trousers were skintight, and waistlines were trim and flattering. He knew exactly how far to push the idea and exactly when to pull back. It was like witnessing an orchestra conductor at work as Ghesquière beckoned to liquid leathers and made them sing, then pulled forward the knitwear section and gave it a solo, and then collaged it all together so that each look blended into a harmonious whole.
It wasn’t a very modest collection, but it still felt prim because of all the control Ghesquière exercised in his tailoring. He toyed with geometry, rendering shapes into his garments with contrast trim and stitching. He made sporty fits work with folksy prints, toughened up soft fabrics with patent-leather accents, and presented dozens of delicious A-line skirts with oversized pockets and zip-front closures. The concept of the slip dress was improved with luxe crocodile bodices and pinstriped knit skirts and, for evening, the designer served up flutter-sleeved dresses topped with floral-printed apron overlays and a slice of sex at the hips. Looks ran the gamut from athletic to urban and from equestrian to fetishistic, which have all been explored by the brand before at one time or another but never this cohesively. In a single collection, Ghesquière does the impossible: he reprograms our expectations of Louis Vuitton, he respects the work of his predecessor, and he advances a new direction for the brand. A triple triumph, indeed.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway