Post Colonial Pilots
Ultimately, after you take out the potential influence of a collection on fashion trends, and even the possibility that a runway show can be a fashion moment which says something to the audience it never suspected before hand, what really matters when considering a collection is whether a designer has created a wardrobe of great clothes. Using the yardstick – one admits a tad reductio ad absurdum – then it has to be said, and written, that Kim Jones has created for Louis Vuitton this season in Paris a marvelous selection of fresh, fashionable and just the right side of fanciful men’s clothes and accessories.
Jones’ starting point was Jaipur, which is a good a place as any. A city, whose spicy colors, alluring jewels and medieval fantasy, make it one of the ten most influential locations in fashion history. Indeed, any fashionista who has never been to the Jaipur, or voyaged in India’s most mesmerizing region, Rajasthan, should be conscious of a certain sense of inferiority. Really. It is that simple.
Kim’s approach was to riff on Shish mirrored embroidery. But where hippies gave this fabric a tatty connotation, Jones used it in snazzy petrol blue blousons and jumpsuits that had tons of pep. Pre-Jones, Vuitton suits seemed an after thought, Kim, however, smartly whips up mohair twill double-breasted versions with the right debonair touch, suggesting a Bangalore billionaire’s cool eldest son. Cognac calf safari jackets with epaulettes, beige nubuck shorts and a couple of sleek blousons with angled zip pockets had the right balance of practicality and panaches. His trio of organza flight jackets with triple V logos were stunners, as was his charming calf leather guitar case.
Jones even made a smooth homage to Nicolas Ghesquiere, with several loosely tied belts, in a reference to a styling ploy used by Vuitton’s women’s creative director – sitting front row – in his two shows for the house to date.
There had been speculation that Jones’ position might be at risk; with design star Ghesquière expanding his creative domain to include menswear. Pre-show, Delphine Arnault nipped that rumor in the bud. “No, why would we change? Kim is doing a great job and we are very happy with him,” Arnault insisted, pupils flaring ever so slightly.
And quite right too.