The Sea, The Sea. This season the journey of the Vuitton traveller, always one both literal and metaphorical, takes to the water.
“Diana Vreeland said that water was ‘God’s tranquilizer.’ She also said she thought the idea of the freedom of surfing was wonderful. That was one of the starting points for the collection,” explains Kim Jones, Louis Vuitton Men’s Style Director, working under the Artistic Direction of Marc Jacobs. “I was also looking at different kinds of men I related to this style – the Vuitton customer is not just one kind of man – and that spanned people from Yves Carcelle with his love of yachting to the idea of sailing clothes worn by men in both a street and pop sense.”
In this way, what can be thought of as the traditional nautical theme – that classic cliché of fashion – is given new meaning and life by being playfully put through the filter of pop culture; made sporting through technical sailing wear; made adventurous through the myth of the high seas; made rebellious through the language of surf culture; made languid and insouciant through a Southern French casual finesse. Ultimately all is made sophisticated in the collection by a thoroughly thoughtful and qualitative approach to each aspect.
Often the silhouette is relaxed, easy and utilitarian yet still with a concentration on lightness and suppleness of fabrication (even with extra soft crocodile). There is particular innovation in the outerwear displayed through contemporary techniques such as laser cutting that give garments a particular fluidity. It is contrasted with the tailored silhouettes utilizing techniques that still stress lightness in construction together with a fluidity of line. A sense of freedom and summer is one that permeates the collection in its entirety and is also displayed in its simple colour palette concentrating on navy and white with flashes of yellow and fluorescents. An element of holiday and beach debris playfully litters the accesorisation of the collection; ring-pulls made precious in gold, silver and mother-of-pearl with coral, anchor and seahorse motifs adding another playful twist.
Maritime semaphore prints feature on cotton neckerchiefs – spelling Louis Vuitton – and Balinese fabrics and prints add another accent in this way. Transformed traditional handcrafted Japanese fabrics such as the Bora denims and silk seersuckers (usually used for kimonos) add another dimension to luxury in the collection. Typically tech items, such as wetsuits, are playfully and luxuriously reconfigured in soft, easy cashmere.
A reconfigured idea of luxury both through artisanal handcrafted techniques and materials, together with intense technical research and contemporary fabrications leads to a confluence of textures and tastes that can be both compared and contrasted throughout the collection, and particularly features in the bags. This mixture of texture, tech and tradition is a major motif of the collection.
The signature, textured bag leather ‘Epi’ was a starting point for much of this thought. This season the leather is utilized in clothing (transformed into a neon-yellow zip jacket for one) and shoes (Epi deck shoes are the predominant footwear in the collection) as well as in its traditional role for bags. The Damier is also given a re-invention this season appearing in waterproof nylon in technical, messenger bags and also newly and chicly contrast trimmed in the signature colour of the collection, navy blue. The check also appears in its most luxurious form as the intricately pieced pattern of the shagreen mini-trunk bags. In fact the predominant thought behind many of the bags this season is the contemporary updating of the famous Louis Vuitton trunk. Here the utilitarian inner workings of the trunk can be seen to have transposed to the outer workings of the tech bags. Elements can be switched and changed while fabrications, finishes and trims are also contrasted.
Technical, rope tied sandals are accented with luxurious crocodile or traditional suede desert boots have inserts of flouro tech fabric. The mixture of tech and tradition is an approach to reflect the contrasting tastes of contemporary consumers and travelers – from the appeal of La Croisette in Cannes to scuba diving in Belize.
“Again, it’s a global journey and the sea covers most of Earth’s surface after all!“ says Jones.
“The collection almost comes from an actual journey – it is like the unpacked contents of a suitcase. There is a sense of travelling from West to East and back again especially in terms of fabrications and the sense of souvenirs and practical clothing that was picked up along the way.”
About Louis Vuitton
Founded in Paris in 1854, Louis Vuitton is synonymous with the art of travel. Its iconic trunks,
luggage, and bags have accompanied journeys throughout time. With the arrival of Artistic
Director Marc Jacobs in 1997, Louis Vuitton extended its expertise to ready-to-wear, shoes,
accessories, watches and jewellery, available in its exclusive network of stores in over 60 countries
Photography by Ludwig Bonnet
©2012 Louis Vuitton / Ludwig Bonnet
©2012 The LA Fashion Magazine