“Rather than look at one destination, this season I decided to look at travelling the world,” says Kim Jones, the Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton. “Now the world traveller picks things up wherever he goes and makes them his own. In this collection we are using many ideas and techniques from South East Asia, from Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. At the same time, we wanted to look at how those styles share so much globally; say how the traditional dress of the Lahu tribe in Thailand looks so much like contemporary sportswear. Fashion is a language that reflects different cultures and tribes globally from New York, Tokyo, Bangkok and Paris – and Louis Vuitton is really a part of that.”
This season, the Louis Vuitton Men’s collection is a celebration of the similarities in global style rather than its differences. Both transposing and transforming traditional and contemporary dress codes from Thailand’s Lahu tribe to America’s Ivy League, the Louis Vuitton collection playfully stakes its place as part of that pantheon, of the global language of fashion.
Looking at how people identify themselves the world over, from the wearing of the humble tourist souvenir jacket to being clothed in timeless, luxurious icons of menswear, the Louis Vuitton collection works as a form of extended clothing remix, with the codes of the House at its heart. Here, traditional, intricate striped Thai embroidery echoes contemporary sportswear as well as the personalised stripes of the LV Monogram; the silhouettes of South East Asian national dress reflect the large volumes of the American baseball top or track pant in embroidered silk; new forms of light, organza bonded leathers with taped seams, luxuriously echo traditional utilitarian waterproofs of the past and are made fully reversible; while timeless indigo features as a global, unifying colour from the lavish, hand dyed and sun dried Japanese Kobe leathers in traditional American flight jacket shapes, via new silk mixed denims, to discharge printed silk parkas in their new, ‘brush stroke’ camouflage patterns. Even pearl accessories are lavishly treated with indigo while the pearl is still forming in the shell.
The Louis Vuitton Monogram, Epi and Taïga are the unifying fabrications that unite the collection through footwear and bags. A new ultra-supple canvas makes the Monogram more lightweight and packable than ever in high-luxury utilitarian bags; the textured Epi leather also finds form in footwear this season as well as in its more traditional, structured maroquinerie; while the Taïga is reintroduced both for footwear and bag-making, adding another layer of texture to the playful leather goods.
Today’s show music is by the inimitable performer and producer Nile Rodgers. “Of course Nile is a hero of mine,” says Kim Jones. “And he was perfect to work with this season as he is somebody that has crossed all boundaries with the many different artists he has collaborated with the world over. Taking those global influences, mixing them together and making a new sound – Nile’s music is a metaphor for the collection.”