“Today is a new day.” That’s how Nicolas Ghesquière, artistic director for its women’s collections, described his runway debut for Louis Vuitton Outlet today.
The fresh start was evident from the moment guests entered the cobble-stoned interior courtyard of the Louvre where Vuitton has staged its shows for several years. There were no hostesses dressed in French maid uniforms, as Mr. Ghesquière’s predecessorMarc Jacobs had.
- French designer Nicolas Ghesquière at Paris Fashion Week March 5, 2014.
Inside, the change was even more stark. Mr. Jacobs, who left Vuitton in October to concentrate on his namesake label, put on extravagant shows, building sets such as an Orient Express-style train and classic hotel elevators to carry his models. The interior of Mr. Ghesquière’s venue was a hollow box. There was no decoration. A couple of square islands were set up with white padded benches for some of the guests. The rest of the guests were seated around the perimeter of the room. Fewer journalists and more clients were invited.
Mr. Jacobs was known to start his show promptly at 10 AM after a spat with critics over starting too late one season. Mr. Ghesquière cut guests a little more slack, commencing at 13 minutes past the scheduled time.
And the sign that the show was starting fit his mantra: the louvers on windows lining the room lifted to let in the Paris sun. Daylight illuminated the collection of slim silhouettes and leather apparel, a tip of the hat to Vuitton’s bag-making heritage.
In his show notes, Mr. Ghesquière floated the themes of timelessness, authenticity and innovation. “Does not every designer ultimately seek to create something timeless?” he asked. Mr. Jacobs’ interpretation of Vuitton had drawn heavily on the past, mining the house’s image of glamorous travel. There was less historical weight in Mr. Ghesquière’s collection, which made it seem more current. Mr. Ghesquière paid homage to his predecessor, who had created Vuitton’s clothing business from scratch.
At the close of the collections, the blinds came back down. Mr. Ghesquière took a timid bow. The audience was not so reserved in its applause.