Nicolas Ghesquière explored themes of travel with future-forward iterations of silhouettes from eras past.
In the new Louis Vuitton building off Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the interior had transformed from a construction site to the inside of a hot air balloon. On the set built by James Chinlund, every visible surface was sheathed in a bright orange material made from low-density polyethylene. The likes of Cate Blanchett, Zendaya, NewJeans’ Hyein, Stray Kids’ Felix, Heart Evangelista, and Anne Curtis were enveloped in the space’s warm, saturated glow, meant to evoke the diffused light of a burner flame cast on draped sails. On Paris’s grand thoroughfare, Nicolas Ghesquière presented his audience with a portal.
Throughout his tenure at Louis Vuitton, the designer has been tireless in navigating ideas of fashion that sit at the intersections, between the boundaries of the past, present, and future, and even between places real and imagined. Just last season, he was whisking guests off to Italy’s Isola Bella, narrating epics of mermaids living in the depths of Lake Maggiore. But travel and adventure had long been woven into the house codes before Ghesquière, Vuitton himself a master trunk maker.
On the runway, Ghesquière transported guests through forms and silhouettes reminiscent of eras past; while historical references are a frequent touchpoint for the designer, they are not merely referenced but built upon, imagined anew. This collection, for one, touched on the mod color-blocking of the ’60s, the maximalism of the ’80s, and the languid quality of the ’90s. At Louis Vuitton, these kinds of ideas are always interjected with surprising new elements; this season, it was an airy lightness: fluid, flounced skirts and breezy silk blouses that caught the wind in motion. Even the thickly padded jackets—one in butter yellow satin, the other in a buttery leather—held with them a certain weightlessness.
The language of effortlessness carried over onto leather belts slung low on the waist; striped shirts styled casually over tights; and trousers tailored to a relaxed fit before the collection slowly moved towards the realm of the structured and the streamlined, embellished with modern-facing detail. Jackets that at first glance appear to be tweed bouclé are actually made from laser-cut material, interwoven to create a unique texture. The music only aided in Ghesquière’s storytelling, with Zaho de Sagazan’s melody starting off slow and soft before becoming increasingly upbeat, inflected by punchy electronic beats. The final walk was aided by De Sagazan’s enchanting hum and stripped-down piano accompaniment.
Front row at the show, fashion week veteran Heart Evangelista weighed in on Ghesquière’s narrative: “I loved the transition of the softness to the structured blazers,” she told Vogue Philippines. “It kind of reminds me of the strength of a woman and the representation of a woman’s heart, how it’s soft and then it becomes very strong.”