Designer Nicolas Ghesquiere had teased that his Louis Vuitton Paris fashion week show late Tuesday would be a “shock”.
He wasn’t kidding. While guests had been invited to the Louvre Museum in the centre of the French capital, when they took their seats they actually found themselves in the Pompidou Centre, a kilometre away to the east.
This wasn’t some sort teleporter trick from “Star Trek”. Ghesquiere had recreated the groundbreaking architecture of the Pompidou’s modern art galleries inside the Louvre — “a museum inside a museum” — to demonstrate the shock of the new.
And his clothes for autumn/winter where just as tricksy, mixing stripes, checks, floral and all sorts of prints and patterns in what the New York Times’s Vanessa Friedman quickly called a “good taste, bad taste mash up”.
On the last of nine packed days of shows, it was hard for some exhausted fashionistas to get their heads round, particularly as many had shed a silent tear earlier in the day as the late Karl Lagerfeld’s final collection was shown at Chanel.
But Ghesquiere had warned that change was a-coming in a tongue-in-check social media teaser video from his “muse”, American actress and model Indya Moore, the transgender star of the US television series “Pose”.
“I was busy admiring myself being admired by myself,” Moore drawled archly in what may have been a swipe at the latest trendy modern tribe, the autosexuals.
No need to panic
Excessive self-regard is not something fashion designers as smart as Ghesquiere could be accused of.
Before the shareholders of the world’s richest fashion brand start panicking, there was method to this.
In fact, the pick ‘n’ mix pattern palate was an hommage to what Ghesquiere called the “sartorial melting pot” of the still rather rough-edged shopping district near the Pompidou Centre, where the timelessly tasteful wardrobe codes of upper class Parisians rub up uneasily against the more eclectic street style of the youthful multicultural suburbs.
“It’s an incredible mix which converges towards this epicentre” near the Chatelet transport hub, Ghesquiere said.
“That is where I am taking Louis Vuitton today: a house of multiple expressions,” he added.
The supernova of Hollywood stars on the show’s front row who have hitched themselves to the Vuitton wagon — Emma Stone, Jennifer Connolly, Lea Seydoux and Swedish Oscar winner Alicia Vikander — definitely dug it.
Supermodel Karlie Kloss also seemed to lap up the mash-up mix of inspirations from Mondrian to Cubism to futuristic street, typified by the black leather swimming hats.
A big shouldered floral kaftan coat with a stripey interior somehow worked, and there was plenty of expensively sleek black leather also in the mix for the woman who likes to keep it rock ‘n’ roll.
Despite all the talk of innovation, there was lots of the classic luxury casual looks — and classics with a casual luxury touch – that has won Ghesquiere such a fan club, one that extends to the nearby Elysee Palace and France’s first lady Brigitte Macron.