Nicolas Ghesquiere is a fan of the “struggle of time,” and it’s often hard to get your finger on historical references that a designer absorbs, breaks, camouflages, and / or rearranges in Louis Vuitton costumes. This is what made his Fall 2020 show, If the Past Can See Us, before a panel of 200 figures in costumes spanning five centuries, both baffling and delightful.
There was a strong figure from the 1980s in many of the looks in his Spring 2021 collection that transcended green screen walls and “virtual VIPs” – remote-controlled cameras mounted on slender columns interspersed with live guests seated in 19th-century Thonet chairs. For example, Boxy T-shirt dresses with candy-type prints from the dime store, single puff sleeves or fabric swag in heavy satin, appeared as if cut from a period portrait. 1980 meets 1880?
The season has also seen Ghesquière enter into the fluidity of the sexes, adding another layer of sophistication to the show, which is staged amidst the splendor of Art Nouveau at La Samaritaine, the beautifully restored historic store in Paris set to reopen sometime in the year. Next. The designer asked questions himself in the display notes: “What does underwear look like? What kind of cut can masculine and feminine blend in? In what wardrobe would it look good?”
He didn’t give all the answers – and he didn’t always look good in baggy pants with the crotch falling to the knee, or a bat-wool sweater in a gray knit fabric. But then you can feel in style with a simple sailor T-shirt with cap sleeves and baggy pants with sparkling embroideries, or black leather pants with a sexy white tank and a soft, indifferent coat.
This has been a mixed fashion season, with many designers playing it safe with nature or escape themes, or a minor brand refresh. Ghesquière is among the few who have dislocated their necks, opening his show with a model of feathered hair walking in a loose-fitting cream jacket with the word “vote” on it and dressed in men’s pleated pants. It looked fierce, but it was also just as familiar as an old yearbook picture.
Ghesquière certainly hasn’t wavered far from lavish silhouettes: oversized coats, square puffed jackets and signature oversized trousers – here in a mixture of navy stripes, there is in a striped print that appears stained with mercury.
There weren’t many bags on the runway, but it stood out: a melted caramel alligator box case with a heavy gold chain, and a new soft bag with accordion pleats stamped with LV but in the same blinding green leather as the walls. Like the show that was broadcast live with all of its rosematase tech music, it was physical meets digital – and it carried it well.