INDIGO SOULS. Kim Jones premiered Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2016 menswear collection with a pop-up store in Bangkok. M. Berlian reports
On the heels of Louis Vuitton’s fall/winter 2016 menswear show at the Paris Fashion Week, the brand had started to focus on something else entirely, somewhere halfway around the world. Not that this indicated anything wrong, mind you. In fact, the reviews and hype—all positive, by the way—for the fall/winter collection that is dedicated to the City of Light were still coming in. But just a fortnight and two days later, the spotlight shifted east to Bangkok, as the Thai capital played host to the Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2016 menswear pop-up store.
It’s safe to say that the pop-up store officially signified the arrival of the new season for Louis Vuitton, since it became a medium to debut a hand-picked selection of pieces from the brand’s current men’s collection. The day before it was opened for public from February 6 to 14, I had the opportunity to walk through the pop-up store and savor the lavish spectacle before the opening party commenced.
LEOPARDS IN THE CITY
The pop-up store was impossible to be missed—not just because it was placed right in front of Louis Vuitton’s boutique inside the Siam Paragon shopping mall, a few steps away from the front entrance, nor due to the army of smartphone-equipped mall-goers circling the area (more on this later). It was the pop-up store’s peculiar shape and façade that truly made an impressive sight.
That being said, the shape was quite difficult to describe. It resembled a tunnel of some sort, albeit a relatively short one. Emblazoned on it were images of black leopards, an endangered species found in Indochina. The animals also make an appearance on some of the spring/summer collection’s most iconic items, from the souvenir jackets and shorts to the silk shirts that have gained quite a following after it was seen worn by today’s fashion bad boy Zayn Malik. Between the leopards were script letterings bearing the fashion house’s name, set against a deep indigo background.
JOURNEY TO THE SOUTHEAST
Indigo is another of the collection’s main themes. For men’s artistic director Kim Jones, indigo is more than a mere color. As if to prove his point, an indigo leather jacket was displayed in the center of the pop-up store. Apparently, it takes forever to dye leather a deep indigo, especially since it needs to be sun-dried afterward. If that doesn’t sound complicated enough, Jones also added a layer of lacquer to the jacket, giving it a beautiful and luxurious sheen.
A natural dye that first came from India and then spread across Southeast Asia, indigo, according to Jones, is a “language” that most people in the region will understand. And this is important for him because the spring/summer collection is heavily inspired by the cultures of Southeast Asia, along with Japan and China. In a way, it’s his way of giving back.
“In this collection we are using many ideas and techniques from Southeast Asia, from Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia,” explains Jones in the official press release. Influence from Indonesia is also seen in pastel-colored silk pieces decorated with birds of paradise.
“Indigo, according to Kim Jones, is a ‘language’ that most people in Southeast Asia will understand”
Jones also plays around with the design of the traditional attire of Thailand’s Lahu tribe, that he sees as similar to contemporary sportswear. As a matter of fact, sportswear is yet another main theme of the collection. Ivy League-inspired satin bomber jackets, also known as souvenir jackets, are the key items of the season. One jacket in particular, colored bright red and blue with embroideries depicting Japanese cranes, has been hugely popular and is considered the signature look of the exquisite collection.
The jacket is so popular that Jones had specially designed a never-before-seen limited edition souvenir jacket decked in the same colors to celebrate the opening of the pop-up store in Bangkok. Instead of cranes, however, the conspicuous black leopard materializes on its back. As it was limited to five pieces, only a lucky few got to lay their eyes—let alone get their hands—on the exclusive souvenir jacket.
MAN OF THE HOUR
One of those terribly fortunate people was Mario Maurer; at one point, the Thai actor was spotted wearing the limited edition souvenir jacket. And this brings us to the aforementioned smartphone-equipped mall-goers, who turned out to be fans of Maurer, patiently waiting as he did a photo session with fellow celebrities—Pao Varit, Pachara Marcel Chirathivat, Ken Phupoom and Weir Sukollawat—hours before the opening party kicked off. It was almost a repeat of last summer, when Maurer attended the presentation of the current collection in Paris. Relatively unknown to westerners, Maurer caused quite a ruckus among the photographers, even prompting one news portal to ask its Instagram followers to help identify Maurer.
As the night went on, things got more intense at the opening party when Kim Jones himself showed up. Guests lining up to take snapshots and scream multiple cries of “I’m such a fan!” welcomed the ingenious yet humble designer. In a final touch that further confirmed the masses’ approval of his brilliance, word soon got out at the end of the party that his clothing pieces were selling exceptionally well
This article first appeared in DA MAN April/May 2016. Get the issue here.
Photos Louis Vuitton