Please don’t take all of Mr. Arnault’s money away. Fashion is one reason France is so special. You can help ensure that after way too long a season, the people who buy this essential export to sell in their far-off lands, and those who photograph, report on, blog about and otherwise play a role in the global fashion game, leave your glorious capital (or if lucky enough to live here, just go home and kick off the stilettos) happy and a little amused. If you take away all of Mr. Arnault’s money, Marc Jacobs will still be a brilliant designer, but not one with the wherewithal to collaborate with Daniel Buren on a remarkable Louis Vuitton set with an enormous yellow-and-white glass checkerboard floor (who knew Grandma’s-kitchen-linoleum look could get such an upgrade?) and four mile-high silvery-sleek escalators, which, when in motion, revealed Damier stripes on their risers. Descending the escalators in sisterly pairs, Marc’s models made for sunny viewing, especially because he gave bright yellow a rare fashion moment.
The clothes worked the happy, if one-note, side of chic. Save for a few pants, the show was all about dresses in three lengths — mini, midi, maxi — and all about the Sixties. Jacobs was inspired by Buren’s “Les Deux Plateaux” in the Palais Royal, an installation of 260 columns of three different heights. One could also draw a fairly straight line to his signature show in New York, which was slouchier and more overtly sexy; here he offered a more structured take on linear thinking.
He also switched his graphic interest from stripes to checks in various sizes interspersed with clean florals. As always, the workmanship approached couture level — another benefit of Mr. Arnault’s good fortune — with much of the craftsmanship in the fine print: embroideries of near-microscopic sequins creating full-body shimmer; a flocked-velvet effect achieved by “tuffetage,” an embroidery carpet-making technique; floral lapel corsages set into sterling silver stems.
As for the handbags, almost every model carried one, yet there wasn’t a single monogram in sight. Rather, Jacobs let the Damier do the talking. Maybe he just wasn’t feeling the lettering thing, or maybe he wanted to address the increasing sophistication of the Chinese market, where the clamor for obvious logos isn’t what it used to be. How fortunate that he could diversify the Damier’s inherent chic so indulgently, as in one labor-intensive checkerboard crafted from little feathers aligned painstakingly into precision squares.
Dear France, such intricacy doesn’t come cheap. Yet it has such great power to please, not only the over-it fashion crowd but rich ladies around the world, too. Therefore, please don’t take all of Mr. Arnault’s money away.