At first glance, Nicolas Ghesquière’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection for Louis Vuitton appeared to be merely a hip homage to fashion’s ongoing athleisure obsession. There were shiny running shorts aplenty, skinny, that high-low streetwear posh combining an artisanal prowess of traditional embroidery crafts with hi-tech fabrics, aerodynamic knits (fit for – sadly – only the fit)…
And who could un-see those state-of-the-art designer sneakers, or more accurately, “daddy sneakers” whom the likes of batty Balenciaga and Yeezy fans would kill/die for. Well, a little more on those coveted sneakers later.
The real story behind Ghesquière’s collection has, but of course, more depth than the championing of a current fad. The French company’s press release wrote: “The Spring-Summer 2018 collection is all about anachronisms, a dialogue of wardrobes transcending Time… Might it be possible to awaken the clothes of long-gone eras and infuse them with the spirit of today?”
For Ghesquière, the dialogue began with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York where the French designer chanced upon a series of eighteenth-century French aristocratic garments. Questioning its perennial relevance then versus what it would be now, Ghesquière’s aim was to meld the two and strip it off its costume-y label.
A stitch in time
Reimagining yester-century styles to fit seamlessly with the cool sensibilities of modern fashion requires intuition and discernment. Picking a jacket/outercoat as one of the collection’s core pieces proved Ghesquière has both. And it wasn’t just any jacket, it was an elegant Napoleonic frock coat.
Ghesquière could have easily done away with the traditional tailcoat detail of his 18th Century inspiration but instead, he paid homage to its svelte, classic tailoring — cutting his handsome rendition narrow and close to the body. In addition, the 46-year old designer also preserved the curved hems of the coat front opening — a touch that softened the appeal of this otherwise masculine, military-inspired coat.
Visually speaking, this flattered the way Ghesquière’s statement coats were hanging off his models’ shoulders. Fanning open down the torso and sinuously past the hips, these decorative, high-collared coats were despite their strict lines, designed to artfully caress its wearer’s womanly curves, too.
There were many more feminine aspects to the collection even when Ghesquière borrowed plenty of styles from the men’s department. His libertine-inspired ensembles saw poet shirts paired elegantly with brocade long gilets and vest dresses. There was even an option matched with a jean-inspired trouser, which was trimmed with ruffles on the other side seams – sweet.
A series of long flowing dresses were probably Ghesquière’s most feminine contribution to the collection by far. Made cooler with the additions of ruffled harnesses (inspired by the upper bust sections and fancy tiered sleeves of corseted 18th Century gowns – no less), they lent the girly dresses a sense of rebellion and devil-may-care insouciance.
Ghesquière in the details
One of the most coveted accessories in the collection are the Archlight sneakers, which was paired with more than half of Ghesquière’s fashion show looks.
Said the designer: “We saw the most beautiful frocks (in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) and I thought, this is so interesting to mix them with sport clothes, with sneakers, to create that look.”
Using a wide range of materials for the sneaker’s construction, the mix of calf leather, technical fabrics and the house’s Monogram canvas ensures the Archlight boasts an all-round flexible and supple fit. These futuristic sneakers are not just all good looks either. Its bouncy outer sole and high-arch offer good posture and, not to mention, an added spring to your step and a confidence boost.
The collection’s bag offerings were also a visual feast in itself. The French company’s infamous Speedy bag was seen in one of the updated permutations in brand new style — fashioned in smooth box calf leather with gold hardware trimming its closure and complementing the handbag’s doctor’s bag style.
Elsewhere, the Speedy also took on other cutting-edge enhancements via a grey calf leather option that was made to mimic rubber. Paired with clashing orange leather trims, there were also sporty clip buckles and a logo ring tag that boosted the bag’s industrial/Sci-Fi leanings.
Other highlights included the Petite Boite Chapeau (chapeau is French for “hat” or “cap”), a reinterpretation of Louis Vuitton’s iconic hat box bag. Created in the 19th Century, this nano version was first seen on the House’s Cruise 2018 runway show. Refreshed with new materials and colours for this collection, some of the must-have options include the tanned python leather and metallic silver Epi leather renditions.
All images courtesy of Louis Vuitton.