NEW YORK STATE OF MIND. The vibrant culture of New York in the ’70s through the early ’90s inspires Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter 2017 collection. Peter Zewet reports from Taipei
A pajama look from the fall/winter show
It was a rainy day in Taipei, Taiwan, on the day of the press presentation of Louis Vuitton’s fall/winter 2017 collection for regional editors. Yet, the cold and wet weather somehow created the perfect ambience to showcase the collection as it exuded warmth with soft coats and long sweaters in cashmere and wool. A relaxed elegance was apparent in the collection with a silhouette that was wide and looser. This relaxed attitude could be attributed to the styles of the iconic artists of New York City in the recent past, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, which inspires the collection.
For the collection, Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director Kim Jones explored the multitude of styles that co-exist and co-mingle in New York City; particularly during the seventies, eighties through early nineties. “It’s uptown and downtown,” stated Jones. “Artists and musicians, friends and heroes.”
The diverse fashion styles of that time can be seen in the works of the long list of quintessentially Manhattan artists of that period such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel along with the aforementioned Basquiat and Warhol. This group of artists stood the test of time, and continue to inspire. Also incorporated into the collection were the visual hallmarks of New York’s fashion sensibilities during those three decades. There’s the decadent dressing of the party-people of Studio 54 from the ’70s, the logo-heavy ’80s as well as the street-smart styling of the early ’90s.
The fall/winter 2017 collection on display
The result is a comprehensive collection that fulfills the needs of the modern man. While a relaxed attitude was offered through the roomy silhouettes, polished tailoring combined with functional detailing were also present. Luxurious fabrics that are synonymous with the house of Vuitton, such as silk, cashmere, vicuña and alligator were employed and cut into genuine utilitarian shapes. The color palette was manly and controlled, with dark and earthy tones dominating the collection.
Basquiat’s fashion sense in particular was also explored with tailored loose coats, raw-cut in cashmere flecked with threads to imitate paint splatters or woven with hairline strips of Vuitton leather. Another standout fashion tribute in the collection was for artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, who is famous for donning pajamas in lieu of ordinary clothes in his daily life. The pajamas in the collection were printed with collages of Louis Vuitton advertising imagery of the ’30s—an echo of the obsession with deco revivalism during the ’70s.
“Kim Jones explored the multitude of styles that co-exist and co-mingle in New York City”
For accessories, black leather caps and berets were seen aplenty, while white sneakers were a staple in the collection, preciously patched with Louis Vuitton Epi leathers and alligator, featuring embossed Monogram flowers, as well as a V-chevron toe cap. Palladium earrings and necklaces evoked the glittering hedonism of Studio 54’s dance floor.
Combining textile and leather, the leather goods showcased classic techniques fused with Louis Vuitton’s Monogram canvas and Cuir Taurillon leather, using an intricate print and stitch decorative technique. A series of accessories and bags boldly contrasts different shades of Epi leather and Monogram canvas, as seen on the season’s version of the Christopher backpack.
Backstage during Louis Vuitton’s fall/winter runway show
While absent from the presentation in Taipei, the capsule collection that featured a collaboration between Louis Vuitton and skateboarding clothing brand Supreme is worth noting as one of the most talked about elements of the Louis Vuitton men’s fall/winter show in Paris. Established on Lafayette Street in 1994—140 years after Louis Vuitton founded his Malletier in Paris—Supreme has become a New York City staple. It epitomizes the cross-cultural mood of both the city and this collection. Unifying Supreme’s excellence in New York street style and Louis Vuitton’s French savoir-faire, this capsule collection, which featured leather goods and accessories, is definitely one of the most successful Louis Vuitton collaborations in recent years. It also marked Louis Vuitton’s smart move to become more relevant to a younger generation.