On the last night of a month of fashion weeks, Hollywood decamped to Paris for the Louis Vuitton catwalk show. Emma Stone arrived fresh from the Oscars along with fellow actors Sienna Miller, Michelle Williams and Jaden Smith.
The clothes were “quintessentially French”, said designer Nicolas Ghesquière after the show, which repurposed the sculpture galleries of the Louvre as a catwalk. “I looked back to the French women who surrounded me when I was growing up. The women who taught me to be the person I am today. There is a particularity to French women, and this is quite a strict collection, I think.”
This was a more traditional, ladylike show than is typical of Ghesquière, who in a stellar fashion career has pioneered an angular, futuristic aesthetic. (One of his all-time greatest hits were shoes inspired by Lego; spring’s Archlight, a bulky, jolie-laide “dad sneaker” is a new season sellout at £780.)
First on to the catwalk was a black suit with pencil skirt and matching cropped jacket, worn with an ivory blouse and black heels. As per old-school catwalk protocol, suits for daytime were followed by a “flou” section of soft dresses and separates, before the show ended with eveningwear.
Ghesquière said he focused on real women because of the cultural shift around gender equality. “It’s a dialogue we have every day,” he said. “This dialogue about women is really important when you work in fashion.” Asked why this was expressed in a demure and ladylike aesthetic he responded that “sometimes we think to empower a woman means putting trousers on her. The women I dress don’t dress for men and they don’t dress like men. They dress for themselves and like themselves”.
Catherine Deneuve, whose controversial views on the #MeToo movement have been noted, came backstage after the show to embrace Ghesquière.
So important was this show to Ghesquière that he was one of the few major French designers missing from a dinner hosted by the country’s president, Emanuel Macron, at the Élysée for luminaries of Paris fashion on Monday night.
The dinner was a glamorous showpiece of Macron’s business-friendly messaging promoting France to international entrepreneurs. Thom Browne, the US designer who recently moved his show from New York to Paris, was seated at the top table. The British designers Sarah Burton and Stella McCartney were also at the dinner.
Ghesquière, despite his absence from dinner, has a well-placed ambassador at the court of Macron in the form of Brigitte Macron, a devotee of Louis Vuitton, who wore a cutaway brocade frock coat from the current collection to the dinner. (Anna Wintour wore Chanel.)
The neat, curve-hipped peplum jackets, corset-style belts and ultra slim trousers at Vuitton’s Paris show made for a more body conscious collection than has been seen on most catwalks this month. But it reinforced several trends that look set to dominate next season: black leather skirts, and “western” styling, which made an appearance on high-waisted tight trousers and wing-collared shirts.
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