In Focus: Luxury Literature: Louis Vuitton: The Complete Collections Catwalk Series
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
This week's title: Louis Vuitton: The Complete Fashion Collections (Catwalk)
Over the next few weeks, we will be reading, reviewing, and examining various titles within the luxury literature space. Everything from Haute Couture, legendary fashion Maisons and bespoke heritage brands to beautifully hand-crafted jewels, will be briefly touched upon as we navigate our way through the incredibly diverse world which defines luxury literature.
Luxury Without Compromise
The very essence of what it feels like to experience the fashionably intoxicating allure of the "Louis Vuitton" brand is best captured by that famous Robb Report tagline. For the "LV" customer, this "Luxury Without Compromise" all began with an experiment in memorable simplicity..i.e, the easily recognizable "LV" monogram (the starting point of all legendary brands).
Arranged magnificently within this fashionable "collection narrative", are a diverse array of some of the best and boldest collections LV has debuted since the inception of this legendary fashion house. As you initially make your way through this historical tomb of sartorial splendor and elegance, you begin to see the creative evolution of the Vuitton brand.
Using designer Marc Jacob's entrance into the Vuitton narrative (1999) as an inflection point, author Louise Rytter and Fashion Editor Jo Ellison brilliantly present a dazzling photogenic feast for the visual senses. Capturing the true essence of the birthing of an established luxury brand evolving in a new uncharted fashion space, the author visually transports the reader to the edges of the coveted front row and grant the onlooker an up close and personal experience with the legendary Catwalk.
In the launch of Jacob's initial runway show (March 1998) one can not only see but also get a feel for Jacob's "toned-down" somewhat monochromatic vision of fashionable luxury. Using a limited color palette of dull greys, muted whites, and flat black & blues; Jacobs's "Hidden Luxury" theme showcases just that... "Hidden Luxury." With no "real fashion" tradition to follow Jacob's aim was to start from zero blending "refinement and elegance with simplicity and modernity."
Theme: "Hidden Luxury: (1998-1999) Ready-To-Wear:
Seeking to hide the fashion house's emblematic monogram motif almost entirely, Jacobs said he made the conscious decision not to do what the fashion community expected, electing to show a single handbag throughout the entire show. Sportswear-inspired "understated luxury" was what they were going for (according to the stylist Joe Mckenna) and understated luxury was exactly how it was perceived by critics and fashionistas alike.
I'm all the way up
Fat Joe, Remy Ma, and French Montana said it best with their classic hit "I'm all the way up". For Marc Jacobs, no truer phrase could've been uttered, as his Ready-to-Wear collections progressed forward from the late 1990s into the 2000s. His experimentation with various innovative themes grew upward and his collections became more stylish, energetic, and bold.
Here is just a sampling of some of his more creative themes as the years progressed....
*Jet-Wear Fashion Without Jet-Lag: (1999) Ready-To-Wear:
[The collection featured 61 looks, 21 bags, and one motorcycle helmet with two antennas. Designed for the ultimate luxury -the art of traveling- these were sleek, modern, and relaxed clothes for an international woman who no longer counts the seasons as she takes flight by jet-setting from country to country.]
*Louis Vuitton Goes Camping (1999-2000) Ready-To-Wear:
Fur opened and closed the show. Jacobs draped traditional wollen Louis Vuitton blankets into coats, ponchos, scarves, and stoles, echoing the design of the Rayee trunk canvas from 1872. Jacobs celebrated the spirit of travel and millennial glamour, making a clear diversion from his previous collections dominated by minimalism and understated luxury.
*Bourgeois Sportswear & Explorers Uniform (2000) Ready-To-Wear:
The collection was inspired by 1970's bourgeois elegance, explorers uniforms, and urban sportswear. Vogue reported: "Travel and luxury have always been essential components of the Vuitton allure, and this season it looks like jet-setters will feel equally at home on their way to a safari in Africa or hopping on the Concorde between New York and Paris."
*Graffiti by Stephen Sprouse (2001) Ready-To-Wear:
For this collection, Marc Jacobs collaborated with 1980s underground stylist Stephen Sprouse. Sprouse (paying homage to his work with Andy Warhol) used his signature graffiti on the house's iconic bags, gloves, and shoes.
Fast Forward to the end of the Marc Jacobs "LV" era
For nearly 16 years Marc Jacob's brilliantly dazzled the world with his extraordinary creations as Vuitton's creative director. Collection after collection received glowing reviews by, not only the fashion community as a whole but also by millions of consumers and lovers of the Louis Vuitton brand. His final collection, "Showgirl-inspired" (Spring/Summer) debuted on October 2nd, 2013. He wrote in the show notes the following: "This collection is dedicated to the women who inspire me and to the showgirl in every one of them, Emmanuelle Alt, Jane Birkin, Betty Catroux, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Coco Chanel, Cher, Grace Coddington, Sofia Coppola, Vivienne Westwood, Victoire de Castellane, Catherine Deneuve, Claude Lalanne, Julie de Libran, Lady Gaga, Judy Garland, Katie Grand, Juliette Greco, Francoise Hardy, Zizi Jeanmarie, Rei Kawakubo, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Kate Moss, Louise Nevelson, Edith Piaf, Miuccia Prada, Lee Radziwill, Milicent Rogers, Sonia Rykiel, Carla Sozzani, Elsa Schiaparelli, Barbara Streisand, Diana Vreeland, Anna Wintour."
Theme: Showgirls (2014) Ready-To-Wear:
Turning The Page: Nicolas Ghesquiere -A New Chapter
Nicolas Ghesquiere fashion pedigree reads like a noble prize winning Oxford Professor's academic resume:
*1991 -Fashion Job with Jean-Paul Gaultier
*1992 -Designing Knitwear & Women's Wear for brands Poles and Callaghan
*1995 -Appointed head designer of Balenciaga's Japanese licensed product market
*2000 -Named Avant-Garde Designer of the Year at the VHI /Vogue Fashion Awards
*2001 -Awarded the International Designer Award by the CFDA
*2006 -Was included in Time Magazine's list of 100 Men & Women World Transformers
*2007 -Was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in France
*2010 -Was crowned "Superstar" by Fashion Group International
*2013 -Named Creative Director of Louis Vuitton's Women's collection and accessories
*2014 -Named International Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards
*2014 -Winner of The Wall Street Journal magazine's Innovator Award within the fashion category
*2015 -Sits on the Jury for the LVMH Prize for young designers
2017 -Awarded the Women's Leadership Award: most Innovative Designer of his generation
Ghesquiere's stylistic creativity radiates like a thousand Sun's illuminating the world of fashion in unique ways, unlike so many others. His first collection debuted on March 5th, 2014. Dubbed "A New Day", this collection was infused with a youthful spirit. Styled by Marie-Amelie Sauve, the 48 looks were inspired by influences from 1960s Paris, 1970s sci-fi blockbusters, and sportswear.
Theme: A New Day (2014-2015) Ready-To-Wear:
Here are just a sampling of Ghesquiere's creative genius between 2013 and 2019:
Theme: Monaco (2014-2015) Cruise:
Theme: Under The Dome (2015-2016): Ready-To-Wear:
Theme: Future Archaeology (2016-2017) Ready-To-Wear:
Theme: Transcending Time (2018) Ready-To-Wear:
Ghesquiere's collections over the years since taking the "LV" helm have been, as the young people say these days, pure "FIRE". Leaving no doubt that he has truly earned and deserves the title given to him by many as the "most innovative designer of his generation.
Overall, the Loius Vuitton Catwalk: The Complete Fashion Collections book is a magnificent reservoir of the legendary fashion house's evolution from luxury trunk maker to fashion's most coveted and iconic fashion brand. It truly is a "must-read" for lovers of fashion and fashionistas alike...