When you anticipate something so greatly, it is almost inevitable that the product of your expectations will let you down. When it doesn’t, you’re probably in the hands of Nicolas Ghesquière.
This morning, he showed his debut collection for Louis Vuitton and the response was one universal — real time and digital — gasp of exquisite disbelief.
Disbelief because no one had to manage their expectations. The collection delivered more than it needed to, even in spite of it being completely devoid of spectacle from a house that has pioneered the performative aspect of fashion week. There were no train tracks, or carrousels, or escalators, just white floors and clothes. And here’s the thing about the clothes: they didn’t do tricks or play games or try to revolutionize the way women dress. They just whispered Ghesquière’s name in the kind of jovial way that sings: I’m ba-aaaa-ack!
With their broken apart shoulder lines and their high waisted A-line mini skirts and burnt orange and black contrast, the clothes could have told you they belonged to the prodigious designer from any vantage point — even through the manipulated lens of an Instagram photo, which is where, from my bed in New York, I watched the show.
Actual garments aside, here’s thing I’m trying to understand. Is it appropriate that I could see the entire collection and reap the intrinsic benefits of having been there from 4,000 miles away? I saw Cindy Sherman sitting front now not far from Azzedine Alaïa or Christian Louboutin. I saw the show notes — his love letter to his new partner and an admirable and respectful hat-off to the house’s old love, Mr. Jacobs. I saw that Chloe Sevigny stood backstage with Mr. Ghesquière. I heard the music. I saw the way the clothes moved. The way they cloaked Freja Beha’s body and the adrenaline they put in her step.
When it was over, I thought about what a shame it is that they’ll be so difficult to obtain (just looking at Vuitton’s clothes feels expensive) but then I stopped to think that maybe 100 shows deep into the last leg of fashion week, there’s something really impressive to be said about leaving a venue (or locking an iPhone screen) and still feeling excited and impulsive over the prospect of new clothes.
Does this mean the spirit of fashion week still lives and as such functions as a template to push consumerism, or am I still high from experiencing the clothes through a portal that bastardizes the true intentions of the season? Does it even matter? Like in the case of one Raf Simons, good clothes are good clothes — it’s that simple.