The ubiquity of the Louis Vuitton print in the suburbs of New Jersey, where I went to college, made it hard-pressed for me to take the popular 160 year old brand seriously, even when it was under the helm of the great Marc Jacobs.
I always had a problem with legacy brands because there is an inherent DNA. It is difficult to build a “modern fashion vocabulary” because the brand must always remain true to the DNA and encompass recognizable vocabulary.
How confining must it be for a creative (who I believe are the most stout and defiant of all types of people) to submit to working within a restricting framework? The wunderkinds who were embarking on their own legacies – the Wangs (even though he subsequently took the reigns at Balenciaga, alongside his namesake label), the Altuzarras, the Proenza Schoulers – they were the ones I pledged my allegiance to. Which makes it all the more interesting because Nicolas Ghesquière took me utterly and pleasantly by surprise and frankly, got me excited about fashion again.
Ghesquière’s appointment as Creative Director of Louis Vuitton was always a bit of a eyebrow-raiser because it seemed like he was finally ready to establish Ghesquière, and not Ghesquière for _____.
What’s the most exciting thing about this period of time for you?
NG: Preparing for the next chapter and having the time to observe what’s going on in the industry. People could have forever associated me with Balenciaga. We saw clearly when the split took place that there was a desire for my name, so I disassociated myself naturally from the house. That could have been a risk. It would have been different if Balenciaga had disassociated itself from me, but people had seen me develop my signature and knew that it might happen. That’s exciting because whatever choice I make, the possibilities are open, and that was confirmed with the freeing of my name from Balenciaga. I’d made so much effort and been such a good obedient kid in associating myself… Now I can imagine a whole new vocabulary. I’m regenerating again, and that’s very exciting because it’s a feeling I haven’t had since I was in my twenties. – Nicolas Ghesquière, System Magazine (2013)
Despite this, judging from the reported raucous applause and apparent 4,000+ tweets during the debut, it seems that Ghesquière was able to create a harmonious start, one that honored both the French brand’s legacy and Marc Jacobs, who propelled the brand to what it is today.
The clothes were astoundingly wearable with a Sixties vibe. A-line skirts were detailed with bold pockets and zippers. The color-blocked pants looked tech-y, but were surprisingly easy to wear. Dark caramel and black liquid-like leathers in the dresses and jackets were stand-outs, along with the dynamic pleating-like techniques. Everything about the collection screamed “perfectly-elevated classics”, from the trench coats to the collar dresses to the bags. You can see Ghesquière’s spirit in the the way he mixed mediums and gave his collection an air of futurism, despite the nod to the Sixties past. It was the perfect balance between timelessness and ever-forward thinking. Ghesquière made clothes that the modern woman wanted to wear – it’s as simple as that.
A beautiful note written by Ghesquière himself paid homage to Jacobs and proclaimed, “Today is a new day. A big day”. I’m glad he found his footing at Louis Vuitton and that he continues to do so, but I do wonder when we will see just Nicolas Ghesquière on the Paris Fashion Week Calendar.