LOUIS VUITTON • Spring/Summer 2018
about all of them!” says Kim Jones, Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton. “I thought of specific islands - New Zealand, Easter Island, and especially Hawaii - but I was also inspired by the idea of an island, and of travel. Of moving easily from place to place, and experiencing these different pockets of civilisation, these different identities simultaneously.”
The wanderlust that characterises’ Louis Vuitton inspires the Spring Summer 2018 collection with not one specific destination, but many. The luxurious pursuit of islandhopping, of moving between disparate and distinct locales, infuses a collection of hybrids and juxtapositions, built around combining different elements from different places. An archipelago, on your back.
The geographical reality of an island - water-locked, isolated - allows distinct cultural identities to flourish. Hawaii, the island state, is a major source of inspiration. Its signature Aloha shirts inspire prints and intarsia knits of exotic foliage – imaginary and new Hawaiian patterns, specially devised by Louis Vuitton. The extreme sports of these islands - windsurfing, climbing, trekking, hiking - influence both silhouettes and new graphic logo treatments - the name ‘Louis Vuitton’ becomes a sports team slogan, a decal printed across sweaters, tee-shirts and scuba zips.
Outfits are fusions - but instead of blending one inspiration into the next, they are defined and individual - like an island. Tailoring is presented in two shades of mohair, split down the centre, as if two separate halves have been sewn together, and a crocodile cardigan is cut with a knit reverse. Other outfits contrast sportswear with suiting, like two different masculine identities.
A fitted, stretch sportswear silhouette, inspired by streamlined scuba-diving and surfing garb, contrasts with relaxed tailoring - again, inspired by an island, this time the modern hub of Hong Kong. The two fits are mixed in single outfits. Suits are eased around the body - as with the sportswear, they have a kinetic quality. The same is true of a series of printed Hawaiian shirts, overlaid with matching print organza - as the garments move, even the print appears to ‘travel’ around the body, symbolizing the House love of voyaging.
Fabrics are lightweight, modern and fluid. Technical silks, tonic mohairs and seersucker, a paper-thin ‘scuba’ lambskin leather bonded with neoprene - fabrics that travel well and are practical, both demanded by the modern island-hopper and emblematic of the functional, technical roots of Louis Vuitton. Colours contrast the signature Monogram palette of earth tones with shades of khaki and flashes of sports-inspired neon, all ‘surrounded’ by the deep ocean blue.
The key theme of fusion is literally echoed in the accessories. The new style, the Monogram Split, contrasts different colourways of Louis Vuitton’s iconic Monogram canvas, emphasised with a centre seam. The style is offered in classic Keepalls, re-engineered with a lateral seam; or the tote with an oversized style split vertically, including the handle, which is taken from those traditionally used on the trunks. From mountains of trunks, to hand-luggage only - this is another journey, from past to present, charting the needs of the contemporary voyager. New colourways and treatments of the iconic Monogram are introduced – Pacific, a cobalt-blue, Oceania-inspired iteration and Reflect, whose hi-vis reflective finish is influenced by high-impact sport.
The importance of the sportswear theme - surfing, scuba and trekking - is underscored by a new technical, sports-inspired line, ’Monogram Outdoor’, which mixes canvas with sports webbing, scuba zips, cording and hardware based on the coloured metal of a climber’s carabiner clips, creating new styles infused with the energy and dynamism of outdoor pursuits. Other styles play with the recent archive - blowing up the ‘Noe’ bag into oversized backpacks, and revisiting clog style shoes first offered for women.
The footwear cross-breeds these clogs with hiking boots, Harajuku with Honolulu. The construction of Louis Vuitton trunks inspire soles in dovetailed lightweight ash and nailhead metallic details - as modern today as they seemed 163 years ago.
The soundtrack is as unique as the clothes: the musician Drake has recorded a song inspired by this collection, to be premiered at the show. Another fusion - between music and high fashion.