CONSTANT VOYAGE – Louis Vuitton presents Kim Jones’ last fall/winter collection for the luxury brand. DAMAN reports from the press presentation in Hong Kong.
Held at H Queen’s, a creative space located in the Central district in Hong Kong, the Louis Vuitton press presentation for its men’s fall/winter 2018/19 collection highlighted designer Kim Jones’ trademark mix of smart tailoring and streetwear sensibilities. “It’s about clothes that can change, about fabrics that can travel on the body … and transform,” stated Jones. “Discovering something new. A constant voyage.”
Skies over Africa
Picking the title “overview,” as a reference to the aerial images of Kenya that were used as the basis for the prints used in the collection, Jones also dug through the storied archives of Louis Vuitton. Accordingly, the past became a destination often visited throughout the collection. or as Jones put it himself: “modern looks, found in a classic place.”
Showcasing Jones’ forte, the collection epitomizes both a distinctly modern ease of movement through sportswear-influenced pieces as well as different cultural experiences, highlighting a kind of luxury that is both precious and practical.
Jones, who is English, was born in Africa and is an avid traveler. The aerial images were adopted from landscape photographs captured by him during a helicopter flight across Kenya. The resultant images are not only translated into the key print, but also influenced the collection’s palette of natural, neutral earth tones alongside mineral shades of sandstone, granite, olive and slate. These prints and color scheme are seen on almost everything: jackets, coats, shirts, tops, pants to leggings.
While emphasizing the Louis Vuitton DNA of exploration and discovery, another source of inspiration of the collection came from Jones’ experience watching an American rodeo in Wyoming. Jones adopted the attire of the flankman-shorts seen in those rodeos, and paired them over streamlined leggings that recall high-performance sports clothing. Another nod to the Western vibe is a leather jacket, embroidered with flowers—much like how it’s done on cowboy boots. Shearling and intarsia mink add references to Russia and Siberia; classic cashmeres and vicuña are used in tailoring with technical details drawn from the world of climbing, which inspires graphic injections of neon yellow and bright orange
While a layering of upper and outer pieces were aplenty, as expected for the fall/winter season, the silhouettes remained fitted on the bottom; which is certainly a complementary shape for gentlemen.
Leather goods and accessories offer a new take on the brand’s heritage. To that end, Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogram is revisited in different colors and finishes. Titanium is incorporated into the collection for finishes and hardware. The titanium effect is also present on some of the ready-to-wear pieces with metallized fabrics that echo the distinctive sheen and shade of the metal. Furthermore, the titanium gloss is also translated into the monograms on the leather goods.
Even more exciting is how the Monogram Titanium is joined by the Monogram Glaze, whose mirror-coated high-shine finish is an update on the Monogram canvas. In Macassar and Eclipse colorways, the Monogram glaze is showcased in bags, footwear and the ready to wear pieces. The signature luster of the Monogram Fluo, meanwhile, highlights the collection’s energetic neon accent colors.
Two new leather good lines, Infinity Light and Infinity Dark, present a new signature with embossed elements of the name—either “Louis” or “Vuitton”—in the design. Drawing inspiration from classic cowhide used to trim the monogram canvas, leather is used to highlight a purity of shape, trimmed with titanium webbing and hardware details.
The Louis Vuitton speedy is re-styled with a new masculine proportion as a cross-body bag; a hobo style is offered as an elegant men’s duffle; a new backpack style and two messengers are created. Activewear details inspired by mountaineering are integrated into the accessories, with eyelet details in titanium and climbing ropes used for handles and closures. Footwear reflects the various inspirations of the collection: styles create a collage of elements, from a cowboy boot with a technical hiking style to luxurious python merged with a high-impact sports trainer. A reboot, if you will, of a style first proposed in 2015.
A Last Hurrah
While the collection is the last from Jones, who has successfully directed Louis Vuitton menswear since 2011, it celebrates the house’s ever-evolving point of view, and an ever-broadening landscape with a fresh perspective.
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