Kim Jones’ last collection for Louis Vuitton was never going to be just about the clothes.
An atmosphere of heightened anticipation reigned in the overheated tent erected in the Palais-Royal in the center of Paris, where the British designer staged his final men’s show for the French luxury brand after seven years at the helm.
Guests including David Beckham, flanked by his wife Victoria and son Brooklyn; Joe Jonas; Brazilian soccer player Neymar, and peers such as Stefano Pilati, Virgil Abloh, Heron Preston and Craig Green joined in a standing ovation for Jones, the latest major designer to depart a leading luxury label for pastures unknown.
He marked the event by inviting two friends, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, to take turns on the catwalk, drawing loud cheers from the audience as the two supermodels circled the runway, wearing glazed monogram raincoats with nothing but hiking boots.
“It was a good way to finish, wasn’t it?” said Jones, sounding relieved as he greeted a literal throng of well-wishers backstage after the show. “We’ve ended on a good note, we’re all friends and that’s nice, so that’s it. I’m just talking about Vuitton today, because today’s about Vuitton, OK?”
OK. About those clothes, then: The designer delivered his trademark mix of luxurious tailoring and upscale streetwear in a collection titled “Overview” — a reference to the aerial images of Kenya that formed the basis for most of the prints.
This was no safari, though. Jones homed in on otherworldly landscapes of lava, craters and stalagmites, which he used as the basis of his ashy palette of mineral tones and a variety of glazed and metallic effects, down to the titanium trunk strapped to one model’s back.
His band of explorers wore outfits including a glossy burgundy aviator jacket paired with glazed monogram denim pants, or a silver herringbone coat over a metallic silk flight suit. Model Chris Diena appeared in a head-to-toe lava print outfit, wielding the new Infinity Dark messenger bag embossed with the name Vuitton.
Jones patently relished the possibilities of the French luxury brand’s world-class atelier. That lava landscape was reproduced to breathtaking effect on an intarsia mink coat, while a superfine silk jacquard top evoked the crusty surface of a rock.
“It’s about clothes that can change, about fabrics that can travel on the body — and transform,” Jones said in show notes that appeared to reflect his own itch for change. “Discovering something new. A constant voyage.”