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At Louis Vuitton, Ghesquiere Remixes Belle Époque and Art Nouveau

The creative director takes us into his time machine once again with his latest triumph at Paris Fashion Week. The ‘70s? Check. Belle Époque? Check. The future? Check.

As show goers piled into the Carousel du Louvre, they were accompanied by a resounding bell that counted down to the Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2020 show. The set was minimal; the raw plywood seats betrayed nothing of the collection that was about to be revealed before everyone’s eyes. Moments before the show commenced, the ringing stopped and the room, which was bustling with activity, fell to silence.

The next moment, the room faded to black. Just as suddenly, a close up of Scottish artist Sophie Xeon, with her fiery red hair and porcelain skin, was projected onto the blank walls of the room. She began to serenade the audience with a slow and affecting remix of her single “It’s Okay to Cry“. With that, the models made their entrance, with the same glossy crimson lip just spotted on Xeon.

The pieces that were presented left us ever so nostalgic for the past we never knew – and our mouths ajar. We’re talking smart suits, colourful dresses that boasted artful prints and refined embroidery. Coats were masterfully layered above sheer tiered tops with intricate lace details and silky pants. Oh, remember the egg-shaped bag from the last season? It’s back and it has been upsized.

The show notes shared that “returning to the origins gives rise to a high society that expresses itself through a new Belle Époque, as if in tribute to that vivacious time when Paris was pure enchantment”. From the delightfully mismatched prints that dominated the runway right from the start to the array of boutonnières and bun hairstyles, Nicolas Ghesquière sent us right back to late nineteenth-century Paris.

But, that’s not all. We were also brought to a time period a little closer to the present. An incredibly sleek VHS bag and monogram totes stamped with old tapes – that bore a striking resemblance to the titles of iconic films (see: the “Trunkinator”) – made us wish that we still owned a functioning vintage tape player. Add sequinned sweater vests paired with frilly blouses and wide lapels and exaggerated sleeves to the mix and you won’t be able to get the ‘70s out of your mind.

Collection after collection, Ghesquiere continues to, on one hand, create wearable pieces that are ultra-statements in themselves, and on the other, seem to traverse both the past and the future. How does he do it and yet remain so fresh, so many years on? No matter. Wherever his time machine takes us to next, we’re completely and absolutely in for the ride.

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