BACK TO AFRICA. Joezer Mandagi catches up with Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones and chats about the brand’s latest pop-up store and his spring/summer 2017 collection
Earlier this year, in February to be exact, DA MAN was invited to attend the opening of Louis Vuitton’s pop-up store in Bangkok, Thailand, and to chat with the brand’s creative director for menswear. This November, I head south to Australia to attend the opening of Louis Vuitton’s newest pop-up store in Sydney and another chance to pick the brains of the legendary Kim Jones.
After a brief stop at the pop-up store at the Westfield Sydney shopping center, I walk to the Louis Vuitton store on George Street and go up to the seventh floor, which is arranged almost like a modern gallery with a display of classic Louis Vuitton trunks and the occasional contemporary piece. Then Kim Jones enters the room.
It is, to be perfectly honest, a little bit underwhelming. Or perhaps “disarming” is a more appropriate description. The soft-spoken, London-born designer appears totally informal and easygoing in what apparently is his staple shirt-and-pants getup. And Nike sneakers, which is a brand that he has often collaborated with. It’s a bit easy to forget that he now heads the men’s ready-to-wear division at one of the foremost luxury brands in the world. That illusion, however, is quickly shattered as we chat about his latest collection, the latest pop-up store and his views on menswear in general.
“When I was in Thailand and we [Louis Vuitton] did the pop up store there, they said they’d love to have one here because the men’s business is being very good,” Jones remarks about the starting point of the Sydney pop-up store. “So, it’s really just to support that.” Of course, the idea of a Louis Vuitton pop-up store has always been intriguing, as the pop-up store has its origins in the street while Louis Vuitton is basically the pinnacle of luxury. “It’s just really to present the collection in a different way, to put them into the context of just being solely about this one collection,” he goes on. “You know there are a lot of facets at Louis Vuitton, so you can go to a big store and be quite drowned out by lots of things, but this is just to focus on what the collection is about and to celebrate what we’ve done with the Chapman Brothers. And because I wanted to do more animal prints this time, they were the perfect people to ask to do it again.”
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