Louis Vuitton’s “blow up” show caps an energetic fashion season

PARIS (AP) — The fairground lights at Louis Vuitton shone as brightly as the star-studded front row on Tuesday for Nicolas Ghesquière’s vibrant and infectious spring collection that closed Paris Fashion Week.

Dramatic bursts of a tribal drum echoed over the historic cobblestones of the Louvre, drawing guests into a surreal world of circus mirrors, Las Vegas lights and a myriad of tent-like red latex lattices – where the clothes were blown up.

Earlier in the day, a more low-key collection awaited guests attending Chanel at the Grand Palais Ephemere for one of the other big draws in the season finale.

Here are some highlights from Tuesday’s Spring/Summer 2023 collections:

Honey, I shrunk the models

If Nicolas Ghesquière aroused enthusiasm with the circus-like decor that curved like a theater in the round, the fun drawings did not disappoint.

This season, the 51-year-old Louis Vuitton designer gave free rein to his childhood imagination on the theme of the explosion.

Giant zippers accompanied even larger Monogram “handbags”, huge bow collars, clown-shaped buttons and huge unrolling sections of leather that evoked the hit film shrunk the children”.

Beyond the obvious gimmicks, there were accomplished looks in the colorful and youthful collection which was also a playful and contemporary take on royal dress.

Puffy Elizabethan collars – or were they lifesavers? — received a sporty makeover with loose, ruched dresses and black boots. Elsewhere, the Renaissance collar silhouette playfully traveled the body on another look at the hips.

There was method in the madness – the dynamism of the designs giving coherence to the collection as a whole.

Ghesquiere may have gone too far with a series of leather-print puffy zippers, but standout pieces like an embroidered multicolor apron dress surely made up for that.

THE STARS OF LV

Pop icon Janet Jackson watched the model calmly as cameras raced around her inside the former royal palace’s oldest courtyard, the Cour Carrée, amid dazzling lights.

Jennifer Connelly walked backstage. Lea Seydoux posed for photographers near fashion’s wealthiest CEO Bernard Arnault of LVMH, and ‘House of the Dragon’ star Milly Alcock soaked up her newfound fame – a recent addition to the front row. The Australian actress who played her childhood Princess Rhaenyra hasn’t forgotten her humor, lamenting that it was “terrible” that her character had to grow up and be replaced in the hit prequel.

There were so many celebrities that some bewildered fashion journalists simply sat down, beaten, with their VIP cheat sheet in their lap.

High-octane scenes like these are the norm at Louis Vuitton – which since Karl Lagerfeld’s death at Chanel has become the undisputed highlight of the last day of Parisian ready-to-wear. It’s a glamorous bookend for the entire fashion season that travels through New York, London and Milan and always ends in the City of Light.

CHANEL SPRINGTIME

Paris mainstay designer Virginie Viard gently riffed on the 1980s in an overall simple collection doused in black and white that seemed to have nothing to prove.

There were a few little shivers.

The A-line minis led the eyes to flashes of teasing – like knee-high white mesh socks. Irina Shayk delighted in an off-the-shoulder marbled dress with short sleeves and ruffles. Jersey was created to be like scales.

And a polka-dot leather dress with a stiff, wavy peplum provided a historic reverie for the house founded in 1910, borrowing nicely from turn-of-the-century styles.

But the looks the house likened to “a collage” were very – sometimes also – subtly delivered by Viard, who took over from the exuberant Lagerfeld after his death in 2019. The beating heart of this display was to put it mildly.

Black-and-white images of the set spanning the ages, including empty historic gardens from the slow-moving 1961 film ‘Last Year at Marienbad’, may not have helped the mood – but the collection of 71 looks sometimes lacked energy.

Still, the props provided welcome shots of dynamism. Jewel clasps, swinging pearl and jewel pendants, and cascading gold necklaces gave clean looks a fashionable ’80s feel.

MIU MIU BECOMES UTILITY

Miuccia Prada‘s little sister, Miu Miu, went utilitarian for a collection featuring anoraks and handyman pockets.

With fewer bold design features than normal, Prada used anoraks, zippers and flip-flops to explore the theme of rolling out and turning things inside out.

The front of an amorphous alabaster coat with an unzipped top and bottom flap. The vests had the label on the front, as if they had been put on the wrong way. And an ecru rocker dress was created to look like it had been worn inside out.

Later in the 63-look collection, leather creations used the double pockets associated with DIYers to make low waistbands, or scattered haphazardly over an apron.

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