An illuminated glass promenade circling the Pyramide du Louvre was the final destination for those nearing the end of Paris Fashion Week last night.
Guests took their seats on metal stools positioned on a white-washed catwalk as Nicolas Ghesquière prepared to share rubber overcoats, quilted sleeve biker jackets and billowing bell sleeve dresses printed with the landscapes of imaginary places. This was his vision for Louis Vuitton.
Models – one part synth, another part Eighties nightclub reveller – took their turn on the runway sporting slim cut cargo pants and neoprene t-shirts with intergalactic motifs.
Ghesquière also unveiled his version of the party dress – an architectural masterpiece featuring a print that was somewhere between sugary hundreds-and-thousands and the inside of a computer’s hard drive – and a shoulder bag that was reminiscent of a flying saucer.
In the collection notes, the designer referenced the spirit of adventure and the journeys we embark on in our minds as a point of inspiration. It was familiar ground for Louis Vuitton – a house which began life as a luggage brand.
Backstage after the show, he spoke in more direct and tangible terms.
“Every piece that I designed for this collection, I asked the question: is it powerful for a woman to wear this? Does it give her strength?” It was a pertinent way to end ten days of Parisian catwalk shows dominated by conversations about the female gaze.
While Ghesquière is among the most cerebral and intellectually engaged working within a major French house, he also stands among the most intuitive.
“In the last month the question of what it means to be a woman has felt so important so, this time around, I wanted to make that the only criteria. There is no other narrative to this collection, no story. It’s just about dressing women to empower them,” he said.
This manifested not in an overarching theme but in wardrobing options which saw everything from impeccably cut suit jackets to rubberised version of the Vuitton trench coat showcased on the runway.
Riffing on the zeitgeist, the designer also chose the occasion to work with an androgynous silhouette which manifested in a series of loose, wide shouldered blazers and flat fronted “city boy” trousers.
“Everyone thinks a woman dressed as man gives her power, but it’s more complex than that,” said Ghesquière.