Louis Vuitton flexed its cultural might on Monday, becoming the first fashion house to have a catwalk show inside Paris’ Musée D’Orsay.
In the central nave of the Beaux Arts train station-turned-art museum, Cynthia Erivo, Emma Stone, Alicia Vikander and other stars sat next to equally well-chiseled statuary, including Lady Liberty herself by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi.
But Nicolas Ghesquière’s collection seemed to take more inspiration from what is happening outside the vaunted museum, from the skateboarders who meet out front on the weekends, to the DIY fashion stars gathered before Monday’s show to gawk and peacock, including one young woman who painted her face with LV monograms and blossoms.
“Testing. Trying. Playing. Knowing. Yearning. Desiring. Wanting it all. Without restrictions,” was the vibe Ghesquière was after, according to press notes. In short, youth, which has been all over Paris during the shows, ratcheting up the art of fashion fandom to a new level.
Ghesquière has always used his women’s runways as a laboratory, wrestling with history and modernity, formality and the street, with an eye turned toward next-gen self-expression. And this was experimentation through a teenager’s eyes, copping a vintage necktie and a pair of men’s trousers “Annie Hall” style, trying on a vintage brocade coat with a school uniform skirt, or slouchy paisley pants from the Tibetan store with a team rugby or concert T-shirt. (Ghesquière’s homage to idolatry was printing button-down shirts and polos with fashion photographers David Sims’ raw portraiture from the 1990s, an era that in addition to the 2000s, is having a moment.)
And if you’d rather thrift your clothes, maybe you save up for the LV bag.
In the spirit of DIY, there were some interesting ideas of how to make old things look new.
One can certainly imagine the girls in the front row rocking Ghesquière’s slouchy jumpers with deep side pockets — which were an entirely fresh way of wearing metallic tweeds — over a turtleneck and knee-high boots. Sweater dresses with airbrushed and thready argyle designs were also incredibly cool looking. And the idea of mussing up the formality of a pale blue plissé gown, maybe it belonged to your grandmother, by tying a red sweater around the waist, or layering a striped rugby shirt over the top, was the epitome of youthful stylish nonchalance.
Oversized blazers and leather jackets; grand, button-down peplum tops with trailing ends like they were cut-up lady coats; printed baggy skater pants; squared-off loafers, and floral brocade LV bags added to the neo-prep, grunge grandma look.
But rather than dictating any particular mode, Ghesquière, and indeed the LV brand, seemed to be trying to communicate with the next generation of would-be luxury customers both inside and outside the museum gates. The message? “We see you.”