Belle Époque 2.0 at Louis Vuitton

Nicolas Ghesquière, Creative Director at Louis Vuitton, imagined a modern Belle Époque that seemed to exist in an imaginary future. The flowers and decorations of the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th were reloaded with a Sixties and Seventies flair. Ghesquière wanted to recreate a new high society related to the revolutionary years in which we are living, which celebrated the enthusiasm of each individual’s unique character. The collection was an interesting journey from past to future: silhouette, colours, and details were picked here and there from hippy looks, swinging London girls, and the paintings of Alphonse Mucha, but without adding any nostalgia or vintage mood. All of the looks were modern, feminine, and desirable (there were a lot of easy and sellable pieces), without any precise time references but with a real interpretation from the designer. It seems that he is getting back his golden touch, which recently was a bit gone: the ability to develop a collection creating a dream and desire around it, but keeping it coherent and seductive. The setting added more emotions to the presentation as an exclusive version of the “It’s OK to Cry” video played, performed by the artist Sophie, which was originally presented in 2017 in collaboration with Woodkid when it was screened on a football field-sized LED wall as a background.

The new course by Virginie Viard, Creative Director at Chanel, marks a change of pace from the bombastic setting, the over-styled and layered looks of the Karl Lagerfeld era, to a more intimate and delicate approach. The grandeur of the staging in the traditional Grand Palais used to indicate the creation of a dream world, but (so far), without rockets or real icebergs, the atmosphere is more cozy and the collection reflected this mood of purity. The signature bouclé fabric became easy mini dresses and romper suits, and, when the jackets were worn with the short pants, it provided a summery mood, one which the grey background didn’t reveal at first sight. It’s a new and more frivolous woman, buoyant in dressing and thinking. She escapes onto Paris' roofs to find the silence, away from the chaos and searching for privacy. There were the 16th arrondissement girls with updated Chanel classics and the upper-class chic bohemiennes with long and weightless printed dresses. Miniskirts were everywhere and in every shape: plain, balloon-shaped, pleated, ruffled, and with a frill – a very girly touch in an already younger collection. Viard’s work at the maison is going in the right direction; replacing Lagerfeld isn’t an easy job. But she's injecting, season by season, a sense of freshness that was missing in the past. For the record, the finale deserved the unexpected: French YouTube comedian and comic Marie Benoliel, known as "Marie S’Infiltre" (@mariesinfiltre on Instagram), jumped on the catwalk – bypassing the security and walking with the models until Gigi Hadid walked her off the stage.

“I don’t want to insert any statement into this Miu Miu collection. I focused on garments and fashion, which is actually what I love,” said Miuccia Prada before the show. “As for the Prada collection, there was a conceptual simplicity; Miu Miu is more about the aesthetic, subtracting and giving it a raw look. It reminds me of the English theatres where they try their best with very few resources. I played a lot with the fabrics (heavy wools and silks, cottons and gauzes) and constructions, attaching volants or knits used as patches here and there.” The collection played with the unfinished; it was a stern beauty that deeply went back to the Miu Miu roots, a hymn to personal creativity, on how to interpret a style and embrace it. Less decorated than previous seasons (which is way better), we could not call it a minimal collection as it kept the brand jollity that made Miu Miu famous. “I hope that the clothes we design will make women feel beautiful, and that they will desire to wear them. If not, we lose the sense of creative satisfaction,” explained Prada. “Now I give much more attention to the silhouette that appears to be a bon ton, but it also has something punkish.” After the Prada show in Milano, Miu Miu also finally brought back its strong identity which was blurred in the last collections.

The question is: why turn Lacoste in a fashion brand instead of updating the heritage in a modern way? In these overproductive years filled with calls for sustainability processes, this is the first question I asked myself. Despite the first collection that looked balanced, desirable but wisely not extremely fashionable, Creative Director Louise Trotter pushed more towards losing the focus of the brand. The basics of tennis were the starting point, but then the designer got a bit too carried away: loafers styled à la Gucci with tracksuit trousers, along with socks and oversized leather blousons and cropped wide pants. The sporty yet sophisticated look was more successful in the simpler outfits, such as the tailoring in sorbet and acid colours, as well as the slouchy pleated skirts and dresses and the long tank top dress. Trotter wanted to mix heritage and modernity in an iconic place such as the Simonne Mathieu court at Roland Garros, where the show took place. But the collection looked out-of-tune in a tennis club that, ironically, should have been its natural environment.

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