You can tell a lot about a designer from the way he takes his post-show bow.
Consider Karl Lagerfeld, who is known to walk his entire runway slower than his models traipse through the course of the characteristically lengthy spectacles. In watching the fresh facial expressions of his oft-sizey audience, the prodigious designer boasts an indelible confidence that assumes their reactions will match his own impression. Or so one is led to think.
Now look at someone like Hedi Slimane, who, for the past two seasons at the helm of Saint Laurent, hasn’t even so much as peeked out from behind backstage to acknowledge the critics, the clients, the fans and so forth who have come to see what he’s done. Maybe he’d just rather not.
But then there is Nicolas Ghesquière, who emits with equal parts humility and self-respect, the perfect run-toward-center-stage-and-wave. With a smile plastered across his face that appears so genuine you begin to wonder what’s more authentic: the LV monograms or the man, he lifts his arm then turns back around to return from where he emerged.
You come, you clap, you appreciate that he’s back in the same way you might your best friend returning from a faraway trip, and get the sense that he’s personally thanking you. I guess that’s exactly it — the intimacy factor. Through his clothes, Mr. Ghesquière has this uncharted ability to make you feel like you’re as close a friend as his pack of cool girls, which de facto include Gaia Repossi and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Of course, you’re not, but that doesn’t detract from the experience.
On Saturday night, Mr. Ghesquière unveiled his second collection for Louis Vuitton in the first ever resort show for the the storied house. A theme that’s been running strong through the season is in the heretofore presented collections’ lengthiness. Just last week, Lagerfeld showed an 83-look resort collection while previous to that, Raf Simons unveiled 66 looks for Dior. This week’s 300-person show took place adjacent to the royal home of the Prince and Princess of Monaco, both of which were in attendance, and presented a dynamic 46 looks that ran a garb-gamut from Monte Carlo appropriate to the more realistic, less resort leather and shearling.
The venue was enclosed by four walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, which allowed for inquiring eyes to peek in until the show was to start and large curtains emerged to exclude the general public’s viewing. Prior to the show, guests were offered Vuitton-branded post-cards complete with pixelated images of oceanic views that were mimicked across the space’s ground. When the models came out, they appeared to be walking on water. The a-line skirts of fall were present in some places, suggesting the vaguely jovial, absolutely youthful and yet determinedly elegant direction Ghesquière is taking for Vuitton, while the high waist skinny pants and 70s-style floral prints that have become emblematic of his own ethos had their moments, too.
There were also shyly flared pants in colors like pink and yellow as well as jumpsuits. A consistent print that looked like psychedelic reefs appeared in varying grades of burnt yellow, orange, blue and green, complimenting the cylinders-as-polka dots and additional stripes and cubes.
There was one-off-the-shoulder blouse which for me was, in spite of the tinsel waist-belts and python ruffles and trunks-as-minaudieres, the most salient reference to the expansive dexterity of Ghesquière .
Who else would think to have a classic, familiar silhouette appear so fresh and novel in reverse? Sometimes, it seems, you just need a friend to show you how to see things differently.
Images courtesy of Louis Vuitton, cruise collection images shot by Juergen Teller