Every fashion month there is a single look that comes to define the entire season. It’s hard to pinpoint why and it’s impossible to predict, but you know it when you see it. For fall winter 2022 that was the opening look of Nicolas Ghesquière’s latest outing for Louis Vuitton: baggy pinstripe trousers, a crisp white shirt, a perfect vinyl bomber jacket and a kitschy graphic-printed tie. The look had the effortless energy of a chic millennial Parisian who had thrown on a handful of pieces from her wardrobe (and a couple from her boyfriend’s) and stepped onto the street looking impeccably put together. Something from the thrift store, something designer—an androgynous nonchalance that comes to life because of the fierce attitude of the woman who wears it. Who, in this case, was model, Squid Game star, and newly-minted SAG Award winner, HoYeon Jung. It was a full-circle moment for Jung, who was first signed to Louis Vuitton as an exclusive runway model in 2016. Six years later, and she’s a global megastar, hysteria-inducing fashion obsession, and the official face of the brand.
From that first striking look onwards, Ghesquière presented a collection that played with contradictions—the masculine and the feminine, the old and the young, the classic and the avant-garde. The show was presented at the Musèe d’Orsay museum on the Left Bank, the first runway show ever staged at that location, and models weaved through the ornate marble statues in a compelling mix of sporty rugby shirts, exaggerated oversized outerwear, and soft chiffon evening wear grunged-up with chunky knit jumpers tied around the waist. “This collection is an excursion into a perceptible, fleeting, and decisive moment when everything comes to the fore, in all its innocence and insight,” Ghesquière wrote in the accompanying show notes. “The impermanence and beautiful volatility of adolescence.” The pieces, he added, were designed to be mixed and matched: sequin-embellished pinafore dresses with soft rollneck knits, men’s style suiting, men’s style-suiting with Hawaiian print button-downs.
The iconic photographer David Sims popped up throughout the collection in the most literal sense. Ghesquière used old photographs of Sims, printed onto the centre of day dresses or turned into recurring motifs on jackets and the aforementioned rugby jerseys. All told, the collection felt fresh, modern, and in tune with what people are actually wearing right now. Those who really know fashion know that influence comes from “the street up” as Anna Wintour puts it, not the runway down. As many fashion houses make a bid for the affections of Gen Z consumers, Ghesquière presented clothing that felt aligned with the reality of their wardrobes—a heady mix of fun thrifted pieces and save-up-for-it designer accessories, styled in a gender neutral way with a focus on comfort over peacocking. Ghesquière’s specific brand of wearable art looked right at home amongst the treasures of the d’Orsay.