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Show Report

Show Report: Louis Vuitton A/W 17 Womenswear

by Lucy Norris on 7 March 2017

Lucy Norris reports on Nicolas Ghesquière's Louis Vuitton A/W 17 womenswear show.

Lucy Norris reports on Nicolas Ghesquière's Louis Vuitton A/W 17 womenswear show.

I don't usually use the word 'sick' - but that would be how I would describe having Frank Ocean's Pyramids play at your show in the Musée du Louvre. It was pretty awesome. What a coup to secure this place as a show venue. We weren't in a tent, we were literally in with the statues. Night at the museum, or what? 

The show notes described the Musée du Louvre as just one of the components that spoke of this season's proposition: frontiers. As the world's most visited museum, Louis Vuitton believes it is the ultimate 'borderless space.' Nicolas Ghesquière's line of enquiry at Louis Vuitton is one of how to move forward. But the show notes asked: 'what do frontiers mean in globalised world that nonetheless seeks to redefine its boundaries?' I would say that fashion's view of the world is still far from globalised. Being globalised doesn't mean just having global customers. And away from the catwalk, nationalist politics is attempting to culturally carve us up - but I think what Louis Vuitton successfully managed to do this season was use their ownership of 'travel' to find some new no man's lands. The show notes also talked about a nomadic quality - and the sense that these pieces were at once meant for the city but also fixed on distant landscapes. Other blurred boundaries saw the house talk of gender boundaries falling, and the day to night wardrobe now seeing 'evening wear' etc as outmoded concepts. 

The knitwear - one of the strongest elements of the collection - was a hybrid between Ghesquière's motocross world and a near folkloric vibe. Some interesting context was offered in the show notes regarding American sportswear and Slavic influences coming together. A snakeskin that was really a sequin lace dress didn't look exotic but all-knowingly off-beat. Slightly haberdashery. Slightly sporty. Appliqué camisoles also created a pseudo snakeskin. 

What Ghesquière learned about cutting from Cristobal still shows through here. A denim-cum-wool mix jacket was a great example. Its construction and fit was signature him - and lent some much needed emotion to the show.  Simply by seeing the handwriting of this incredible man's past work creates a connection. Ghesquière is this house's best asset - but it feels like we are seeing him sitting in meetings ticking boxes, creating a series of category winning pieces. However, this is very much a different brief to Balenciaga. 

There was a geeky trekky element here to travel. Lots of fantastic swing trousers and, as ever, cropped polo necks were present. A peach coat was synthetic - grotesque and great. Overall though, this felt very casual for something that was being shown in the Louvre - apart from the near cartoonish furs at the beginning. It was a smart move to engage in a kind of downbeat glamour though. It kept things very cool. Tartan sequin dresses arrived in seventies asymmetric styles. But they felt utterly day-to-night. Something you could totally also wear with a knitted cardigan. They had almost a grungy quality. Misty PVC panels, black scalloped edges and some waterfall satin ruffles running down the necks of dresses and along the hems of some nightie-style vintage slips were about as dressed up as it got. With Ghesquière's genius seemingly being put on mute, and him very much looking to build 'a wardrobe', it would still be great to see a tighter, more contained creative angle. Maybe the Louis Vuitton customer was more akin to the 'masstige' showmanship of Marc Jacobs. But if handled correctly, Ghesquière could totally be allowed to step it up in his way too  - and still provide commercial options. In terms of the fashion food chain,  Ghesquière is at the top. Not because he is part of the establishment. But because he is one of our design greats. 

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