LOUIS VUITTON AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK

LOUIS VUITTON AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK

It’s been a year now since Nicolas Ghesquière’s Louis Vuitton debut. Sitting in the geodesic domes set up in the shadow of the Fondation Louis Vuitton at his show this morning, what struck you most was just how comfortable Ghesquière seems with this gig. It can’t be straightforward for a designer to find a new voice, perhaps least of all for one who’d been setting the fashion agenda for nearly a decade and a half at his former place of employ. For his first few outings at Vuitton, Ghesquière looked back in time to the 1970s to create a contemporary woman’s wardrobe. But the tinge of retro that defined his earlier LV output was gone this season. This wasn’t a knock-’em-dead collection, even if the fabulously furry brushed sheepskin coats that opened the show qualified as such, but it suggested that Ghesquière has settled in enough to find his own unique path forward.

Once more for the former Balenciaga designer that means embracing the future. “The exploration went a bit further,” he said backstage. “There’s still a certain respect of the patrimony, but also of technology, [which is] what I like.” A drone flew over the venue, and 21 video screens were arrayed on each of the metal scaffolds propping up the domes’ see-through roofing; they played different angles of the show back to the crowd as it was happening. On the runway itself, the pieces that channeled the future most brightly were the second-skin ribbed knits; with their cutouts above the bust and their fluted cuffs and hems, they were as efficient as uniforms. Metallics abounded. On a silvery silk pantsuit worn with a logo tee. On a glinting dress with the puffed, mutton sleeves that were one of the show’s distinguishing features. And on the accessories. You couldn’t miss model newcomer Fernanda Hin Lin Ly’s transparent glass fiber vanity trunk. There were other mini trunks in aluminum and copper and ultralight carbon, and inside they were all equipped with storage space for iPads, chargers, and other modern-day necessities. For all of the technological feats, though, there was no compensatory sacrifice of craft. See the jellyfish chinoiserie jacquard dress.

In straight-up shoppability terms, this collection looks primed to be Ghesquière’s most accessible so far. His high-rise jeans from Spring were in heavy rotation this month. We expect to see even more of the leather versions he presented today at the shows the next go-around. And Ghesquière should have the confidence to push his explorations further next season.

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