Nicolas Ghesquière, the long-serving and much-celebrated creative director of Louis Vuitton, has historical references on the brain. It’s no surprise—this year marks the 200th birthday of the house’s namesake, an anniversary Ghesquière celebrated by partnering with 200 global artists, who reinterpreted classic pieces from the maison’s archive. And for Spring/Summer 2022, a collection showed in a chandelier-lined gallery in the Louvre last night, he showed pieces that referenced the late 19th century, mixed with futuristic elements in a way that only a designer of his calibre could pull off.
First up, there were the embellished evening dresses, complete with padded hip hoop skirts and elegant corset-like bodices. But they were paired with emerald green sneaker-sandal blends, or extravagantly-styled cat-eye sunglasses, or cute Petite Malle clutches. Sharply tailored dinner jackets with exaggerated lapels or floaty, intricate slip-style dresses were dressed down with straight-leg jeans with monogrammed LV pockets and chunky cherry-coloured sandals. Sumptuous embroidered capes were worn with club-friendly patent leather trousers and chunky ankle boots. “I like the figure of a vampire who travels through the ages, adapting to the dress codes of the era,” Ghesquière wrote in his press notes.
Louis Vuitton have long been tasked with closing out Paris Fashion Week, though this year that honour went to AZ Factory in a tribute to the late, great designer Alber Elbaz. But the brand put on a remarkable spectacle nonetheless. The front row was jam-packed with the house’s eclectic rotation of muses from Alicia Vikander, whose costumes Ghesquière is designing for the upcoming HBO series Irma Vep, to Oscar winners Regina King and Jennifer Connelly, Bond girl Ana de Armas, and YouTube sensation Emma Chamberlain. That Louis Vuitton appeals to such a broad demographic—and that each of those women would look equally chic in the show’s time travelling stylings—is testament to how firm Ghesquière’s finger is on the pulse of culture. In the show notes he revealed he wanted to invite guests to “the grand ball of time”. With Louis Vuitton, it’s a party you never want to leave.