Paris Fashion Week: Louis Vuitton

Welcome to Vuitton’s 10-star hotel

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There were 48 doors, out of which stepped the models. Their hair short, glossy, tousled black wigs – their lips painted burgundy, their eyes extravagantly coated in dark chocolate. Some sauntered out in a state of undress wearing nothing but knickers under their fur coats or pyjamas under their dressing gowns. Others were efficiently pulled together in smart, belted skirt suits as if they were heading out to work or, like Kate Moss, sheathed in the finest, transparent, floor-length devore velvet - no doubt, off to a party.

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Backstage, Marc Jacobs, himself dressed in pyjamas – red, silk and printed with little owls and bizarre monsters – described his woman this season: ‘It’s 50 different women, real and imaginary. It’s my friends and my fantasies. She can look pulled together or thrown together. She’s Left Bank. She’s Hollywood. A bit Gloria Swanson. A bit Juliet Greco. She’s romantic, erotic, decadent, glamorous and she loves luxury. The type of woman who expresses herself as an individual,’ he rapped out in the huge throng that surrounded him.

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This was a seductive collection that played to Louis Vuitton’s chief strength: luxury. Gone were the house’s Monogram and Damier checks, the latter that had glided up and down those escalators last season on all those clean lined, Spartan silhouettes. The girls last season looked like chequered automatons compared to these sexually charged creatures of the night in their silken, marabou-lined dressing gowns. This was no mere luxury hotel; this was 10-star decadence of the highest order.

Every fabric had been treated to some kind of exquisite or exotic detail. Like the miniscule feathers that depicted flowers on a belted jacket, the delicate lace that hemmed those long negligees, the big masculine overcoats that appeared to have been dip-dyed, not in ink, but sequins or ostrich plumes and sequins.

As for the bags, The Pochette Accessoire, the Lockit and the Speedy also boasted resplendent textures – marabou, curled goose feather and waxed crocodile. Handles were carved in aromatic wood that had been antiqued by hand, or horn, or precious stones.

But if fashion is a reflection of the times, what was Marc Jacobs saying here? That decadence and money are no object to the Vuitton customer? That fashion now should be all about fantasy, romance, glamour? That it’s all about getting dressed up, no matter where you’re going or what the occasion? The show notes talked about finding the most glamorous destination in one’s own hotel room. If only real life could be a fantasy as projected by Marc Jacobs.

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