From the house’s early (1896) embrace of the status monogram, discretion has been anathema chez Louis Vuitton. Which makes it the perfect second home for Marc Jacobs, one of fashion’s most fearless designers, who has made luxury wrapped in audacious signage his m.o. at Vuitton. “I think people love to show off,” Jacobs said recently. “No one I know is living such a private existence that they don’t want people to see that they’re carrying the newest bag or wearing the newest clothes. Even if they don’t want to admit it, there’s a kind of joy people get from the recognition.”
In the Vuitton collection he showed on Wednesday, that recognition factor flew off the charts. Jacobs went for head-to-toe overstatement — literally, from Guido Palau’s brilliantly cartoonish Afros (each one five smaller wigs sewn together) to equally fanciful shoes — riffs on clogs, moccasins, fleecy slides and loafers — that hinted at comfort while flashing decorative hardware and flopping shearling tufts. In between, Jacobs piled on stuff with celebratory disregard for anything resembling restraint. Wigs aside, this was no Seventies retro-fest, but an amalgamation of influences — athletic, military, street, hippie, Eighties, Davy Crockett — that came together in a sort of bohemian utilitarianism, both street smart and happy, with an undercurrent of chic and an overcurrent of gall. At its core: terrific sportswear starring the best, flashiest denim of the season. It was monogrammed, bleached, overdyed, ombréd and worked into looks such as a flirty blue jacket and skating skirt combo, and a mannishly cut orange jacket over feisty printed shorts. But Jacobs did not limit his streetscape to humble denim. He showed twills, jacquards, prints, fishnet and glitz, mixing it all up and appropriating at will, even combining tony tweed (that winked toward you-know-where) with army drab to gleefully brazen effect.
And yes, there were bags. Big, flashy, spectacular bags in leather, canvas and denim done up with tassels and tails and vibrant straps worn slung across the torso. Bags that probably already have waiting lists, because Vuitton live-streamed the show and Jacobs used the opportunity to flaunt the fabulous, love-to-show-it-off merch that keeps the Vuitton coffers brimming over.