The Louis Vuitton show wasn’t hooked to a particular era as much as it was to a time frame: Young adulthood.
Nicolas Ghesquière has been time-travelling ever since taking over the Louis Vuitton women’s collections in 2013: across centuries, eras, and movements. So, when things seem hopeless, perhaps the best course of action is to seek out the teenager. Or the teenage self.
Hundreds of kids have gathered outside the events in Paris all week, screaming for celebrities and TikTokers ( who older audience members could never recognise). The world keeps spinning, as the enormous clock at the Musée d’Orsay reminded us at the Louis Vuitton display (the museum’s inaugural runway show), and youngsters are shaping culture.
In his show notes, Ghesquière described adolescence as a time of “inspiring idealism, hope for the future, for a better world.” He suggests it’s a period when it’s common to believe that you can truly mend what the generation before you has ruined (at least if you’re not overwhelmed by how bad it is, which is the less romantic and maybe more realistic view). Still, it’s a nice concept to be reminded of, especially right now.
With a collection of pictures by David Sims, Ghesquière conjured up that state of being. The photographer, like Ghesquière, grew up in the 1990s and derailed the established order by photographing his peers and others with a vérité grit that pretty much became the period’s aesthetic. Some of that edgy energy seeped into this collection, by having Sims’ images on floral jacquard polos.
Ghesquière paired evening gowns with rugby shirts or chunky jumpers wrapped around waists, channelling the mood of adolescent exploration he remembers. This was an endearing combination of clothing, reflecting how a teenage girl could co-opt her boyfriend’s wardrobe. He also experimented with androgynous tailoring, which were often oversized. If you happen to see girls wearing old men’s ties this autumn, you can blame Ghesquière. The combos were occasionally awkward and odd, but that was part of the fun. “Freedom is all,” he wrote, “without directive or impediment.”
Even if the results weren’t especially compelling, it’s difficult to argue with that. You seek your freedom everywhere you can.