Elizabethan Meets the Eighties at Louis Vuitton

If Elizabethan times and the Eighties had met one another, the result would be this Paris Fashion week’s Louis Vuitton collection. Rather appropriate given that the day of the show was also the preview of the Louis Vuitton Fondation’s new exhibitions, Egon Schiele and Jean-Michel Basquiat; one of the more historic past and one of the more contemporary past, the Eighties.

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

There was certainly the graffiti element of the latter at play among Ghesquière’s Spring/Summer 2019 offering which wandered between leg-of-mutton slouch-inflated sleeves on cocoon bombers and blouses to punchy colour palettes of graphic motifs on little dresses and catsuits.

Mirages morphed as prints, a snapshot of another world. Travel, as always, is at the heart of Louis Vuitton, Ghesquière a sharp and sci-fi-esque aesthete. And so, among Shakespearian shirts there were metallic mesh dresses, shoulders silver in tinsel strands that protruded this way and that. Little boulder-like flying object-style bags orbited hands, others were sleek in shape and colour; boots, too, were pointed, always.

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

Ghesquière has long since cemented his LV look; we know it’s succinct and severe; it’s always futuristic in outlook but not in an avant-garde weird way, which is why he’s still top of the Paris Fashion Week scene. In a week that had one of the biggest and most anticipated grand reveals in the shape of Hedi at Celine, this couldn’t be a weak collection from a designer who is as fellow a cult name.

Beaded bust rims on ribbed dresses were sexy and cool, billowing old-school Poiret silhouettes slunk into cocoon shapes, and darts of pink and yellow and blue lent themselves to nostalgia for anyone of said Eighties era. It’s these pieces that will work most in real life over the sleeves of giant proportions. But what’s interesting is the history thread that was woven throughout.

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

Paris this week has delved deeper than in previous seasons. Where streetwear and sportswear were in saturation mode, there now seems to be a renewed affection for the past. Is it because the past is an exotic concept when you can’t remember beyond the scroll of your feed or the like of a post? Because all of that feels as intensely new as something that is new? Because if you didn’t know it the first time round it is brand new? Likely yes.

Ghesquière’s charm is in his ability to blend the two – the past and the future – into something digestible and wearable, and to have stepped into a heritage house and given it a visual heritage. His predecessor, Marc Jacobs, was well known for having a signatureless signature during his tenure, while Ghesquière during his time at the house has pulled it tight into style.

And in a week that saw Celine seriously shake things up, it’s one of only a handful of collections that stands out in one’s mind – that grey and pale blue, cerulean blue, pistachio. Fashion has become a lot about who can shout the loudest these days – something which comes through finesse just as much as it does something outlandish. Vuitton, of course, is the former.