Sitting in a glass pod in the grounds of the Louis Vuitton Foundation in the woodland park that is the Bois de Boulogne, on plastic orange seating right behind Kim and Kanye, so close I could’ve reached out and touched the blonde (no less than 10 young women pranced up to her to ask for a selfie in less than 10 minutes), was surreal to say the least.
This was Nicolas Ghesquière’s third collection for the biggest luxury goods house in fashion and although it lacked the nerve-tingling sensation of last season, it certainly demonstrated his creative authority over the brand. All the codes that he set in place since he became Artistic Director in 2013 were there. His futuristic-classics – familiar silhouettes in high-tech textiles – radiated off the catwalk. And, more to the point, those girls looked cool.
Freja Beha Erichsen, the Danish model in her only catwalk sighting, opened the show in a huge cream fur coat. Happily, that and the furs that followed (including another giant coat in leopard-print) were far from the bourgeois uber-luxe variety; they appeared to be synthetic or shearling and looked all the more modern for it. She carried a silver box, like a vanity case, and on her feet were low-heeled ankle boots in black. It was a strikingly simple opening statement.
Simplicity was key throughout: skinny-rib knitwear came fashioned into vests that curled at the edges and below-the-knee skirts; two single-breasted trouser suits in navy or beige felt like Ghesquière’s take on no-fuss workwear; streamlined coats and the sweater-skirt combinations (the skirts were speckled with glistening stones) seemed a conscious decision to commercialise – as in, to create pieces to buy rather than fantasise over. But then the hemlines went up and with them the surface decoration: gleaming jacquards at first look resembled Chinese silks, but instead of dragons there were jellyfish. These came in abbreviated dresses – mid-thigh – that only the very young could wear. Techy bonded lace came in body-forming sporty dresses that stopped just short of the knee, with black darts at the bust and high, round necks – again, hard to wear. Possibly easier wardrobe adopters would be the white lacy patterned tops with leg-o-mutton sleeves (puffy at the shoulder) or short, sharp skirts and a kitten-heel slingback.
This was a great collection that reinforced Ghesquière’s creative spirit, but it lacked some of the easy buy-ability of his two previous collections. Such as the denim – those Vuitton jeans have been worn by editors all over the shows – and they were on the catwalk, but in black leather, a much harder proposition. Doubtless, they will resurface in the Vuitton stores if not on the runway. And those boots with the corrugated heels, also a fashion editors' favourite? In fact, the new ankle boots – flat and pointy – were great, as were the elegant ribbed leather heels. And every bag, naturally, the big money-spinners of this collection.