PFW AW22: Louis Vuitton

ENCAPSULATING the beauty of freedom, the Louis Vuitton AW22 collection explored the boundaries of convention, refusing resistance to expand into a new world of adolescence, free of restrictions.

Consisting of 47 looks, Artistic Director Nicolas Ghesquière dedicated his AW22 collection to youth, with specific reference, as the show notes read, to the “special moment that belongs to the formative years, the ones that forge character”.

It’s a line, I must admit, I had to re-read. Ghesquière’s collections are always shrouded in mystery, and AW22 continued the paradigm.

With only poetic notions to guide you in the show notes and minimal information on the design specifics, we were left wandering in the Louis Vuitton dream, absorbed by the drifting inspirations heading in a multitude of directions.

Perhaps what can be deciphered from this reference to a “special moment”, is another Ghesquière exercise on the feeling behind how we dress, transporting us back to a time when we had to craft a voice with what was readily available to us, putting together concoctions of hand-me-downs, second hand novelties, and stolen pieces from our parent’s wardrobes.

This transpired in the form of oversized suit trousers, vintage print ties, sloping shoulder ‘80s blazers, rugby shirts that could quite feasibly be borrowed from older siblings and so forth.

The mesmerising mystery of Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton continued when prints of young people began to appear on clothing. Strangers were printed on floral jacquard jumpers, woven into silk pinafores like a digital filter, on t-shirts playing peek-a-boo from blazers as the model’s steps causing the lapels to flap. It was only after the show that Ghesquière revealed that they were early ‘90s prints by British photographer David Sims, which he had chosen keeping in mind teenagers love of band-tees and posters.

The incorporation of such elements was quirky, if not a little weird a points. The clashing of constructs – the floral meets aztec meets camo, each styled with rich leathers and sumptuous bags, unfathomably expensive for a teenager may I add – meant your mind was often darting from one settled understanding to another.

But one could argue that this is the very beauty of Ghesquière. His clothes pertain to no trends, they sit on their own table, purposefully built to create designs no one can see on any other runway. Yes, there was familiarity in the wide hip skirts, an evolution of the chandelier gowns of SS22, and in the mishmash of riding boots and grecian sandals, but ultimately the character of Louis Vuitton is grounded in individualism.

And when you remember this, his focus on this special moment of youth becomes an easy morsel to digest.

The devouring of every extension of the word ‘adolescence’ to Ghesquière became a metaphor in of itself, encompassing, as Ghesquière puts it, “The impermanence and beautiful volatility of adolescence. Testing. Trying. Playing. Knowing. Yearning. Desiring… Wanting it all.” As a designer who has explored the depths of history and modernity within his collections, this experimentation from a new-gen’s perspective underscores his masterful grasp of escapism.

But it is also quite simply, a clever move. Because when putting the youth, his next generation of luxury consumers, on a pedal stool of inspiration, Ghesquière has consequentially sent an important message – they are his focus.

by Lily Rimmer


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