Exploring notions of French elegance, Nicholas Ghesquire has created a women’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Louis Vuitton that expertly balances past, present, and future. Peter Zewet reports from Hong Kong.
Held at H Queen’s, a creative space in Central, Hong Kong, Louis Vuitton’s press presentation of the women’s fall/winter 2018 collection gave this fashion editor the insight that if travel is the maison’s DNA, then Nicolas Ghesquière, Creative Director for Louis Vuitton Women’s Collections, is a time traveller in spirit.
Bringing back the idea of time periods colliding from last season where he mixed 18th century French aristocracy with today’s athleisure sensibility, this season, Ghesquière took his cues from the French Renaissance’s haute bourgeois, and combined them with the space-age modernity that he is resolutely well versed in. Another element of the collection, that is always a recurring motif for Ghesquière and Louis Vuitton, is the spirit of French elegance. Inspired by the fashionable women and icons he grew up with, Ghesquière injected the classic hallmarks of Parisian style effortlessly and without being overtly nostalgic, “It’s a strict collection; rigorous but in a positive way,” he said. “Quintessentially French, because I grew up with French women.”
“I wanted to look back to the women who surrounded me when I grew up. that helped me to make choices and built my aesthetic,” Ghesquière explained. “I was, and still am, surrounded by very inspiring women. they taught me who I am and how to be.”
With all those elements, this hybrid of a collection presented various dressing options that highlight movement and fluidity to the curves of a woman. While the tops are mostly round and oversized, stiff tailored pants and knee-length pencil skirts dominate the bottoms. Chic coats and jackets are aplenty, as well as draped dresses and snap front shirt dresses, which come with a fit and flare silhouette.
Showcasing what Ghesquière does best, a play of contrasting textiles and textures are presented through clever layering. Materials such as leather, wool, tweed, silk, crepe, lurex and suede, as well as high-tech fabrics, come in a colour palette of grey, black, white, yellow, and brown. Rich detailing such as faux fur, sequins, fringes, embroidery, metal medallions, and chains, decorate various pieces. Visually, a standout detailing are the stripes and panelling that highlighted some of the pieces, giving a futuristic, space-age vibes to the total look.
For the leather goods, Louis Vuitton’s popular bags by Ghesquière, such as the Twist, the City Steamer and Petite Malle, are presented for the season, with inventive leather finishes and sleek hardware. Recent favourite that stood out is the Petite Boite Chapeau, French for “small hat box”, which is in tune with Louis Vuitton’s travel heritage.
Meanwhile the new bags for fall/winter 2018 include the Frame bag and the New Wave bag which is poised to be the maison’s it bag of the season. With its wavy shape and quilted detailing, the New Wave bag is inspired by the vibrant ‘80s music movement of the same name and is offered in bold colours. While crocodile leather is used for many of the bags for the runway show, Louis Vuitton also introduced a new print, the time trunk pattern, on the Monogram Canvas and Damier ebene. Another new pattern is the black and red interlaced flowers on blue epi leather, which has taken its inspirations from the stained glass windows at Louis Vuitton’s Asnières atelier. Also highlighted was a print that looked like computer motherboard circuitry, decorating some of the bags, giving a novel touch to the collection.
alternative with ladylike heels that contrasted to the ankle boots he had championed every season, and the Archlight sneakers that was wildly popular last season. Named the Headline pumps, the shoe come with a retro, chunky heels and graphic harnesses strapped across the front.
“Sometimes we thought that to empower women in a clichéd way was to put men’s clothes on her, but we forgot that some very strong women were wearing very feminine outfits,” Ghesquière stated. “I love this idea also to explore that, to have women that changed the world and that were not dressing like men.”
Combining Louis Vuitton’s savoir-faire with a forward vision, Ghesquière continues to create well- balanced collections that embrace contemporary elegance while asserting an updated and bold interpretation of French chic.