Chloe, Loewe, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton try a ‘novel’ concept: Fabulous, wearable clothing
Following COVID-19 lockdowns, Nicolas Ghesquiere, artistic director of Louis Vuitton womenswear, started really traveling again last year – for work and for fun. In addition to shopping wherever he went, he would also go with his team or his friends to find out what he called “the eternal question”: What is French style?
They were also looking for something to wear. Which is another eternal question.
As Ghesquiere said before his show on the penultimate day of the fall 2023 fashion season, “I thought, what if we addressed again the list of wishing?” In other words, have everyone make a list of clothes they wanted but couldn’t find.
Then he collected the results, filtered them through his idea of French style (because what is Vuitton if not a global synonym for Gallic chic?) and replied.
On a catwalk constructed to resemble a cobbled city street to the tune of beeping car horns, clicking high heels, dog barks and birdsong – the whole urban symphony minus catcalls and grumpy asides – it looked like a snapshot of a late afternoon human swirl strolling down the Quai Voltaire in a Paris of the mind.
Pleated silk jackets – perfect for the return of offices – were belted over delicate pearl-embellished knits, not quite office ready. Combinations included a sharp-shouldered faux-fur jacket with leather jeans, a chunky belted camel wool-look coat that was actually made of leather, and a filigree beaded skirt worn with a fuzzy angora bodysuit and an oversized scarf wound around the neck as if its wearer had gone from yoga to gallery to coffee shop without changing.
For evening, there was a whole series of embroidered peignoir-and-board-short sets. It is that part of the evening that involves lazy after-work assignments in a five-star hotel suite. In very fancy loungewear, they were delightfully contradictory (perhaps capturing the essence of French style, according to Ghesquiere).
Although they were shown in the Musee d’Orsay, rather than implying a relationship with the art on its walls in the manner of some of Ghesquiere’s more recent shows like the sci-fi fantasia in San Diego, these clothes were meant to connect with people who might be strolling through the galleries. I know what it’s like: lingering over a painting like “Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe” or “La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans” and then thinking, “Wow, that jacket is beautiful.”