Despite my sleep deprived state I found myself awake at 5am on the final morning of PFW SS14. Why was I awake and practically bouncing off the walls I hear you ask? Two words: Louis Vuitton. When it comes to spectacle, few do it better than Mr Marc Jacobs. Having obsessively watched and researched the Louis Vuitton extravaganza unfold online each season, the fact I’d actually be there in person this time was almost more than I could handle. Renowned as the only show to start on time, bar Marc’s eponymous one in New York, I wasn’t taking any chances and for once found myself leaving the house with over an hour to reach my destination, not that it stopped me panicking the entire way.
I wore: REDValentino jacket, Warehouse skirt, Anya Hindmarch bag & Kurt Geiger shoes
Image c/o The Nyanzi Report
Within the palatial, Louvre adjacent venue a vast pink tent had been erected. On the stairs a troop of immaculately clad French maids “dusted” with noir plumes, giving us a hint of the wonders within. Once inside, I didn’t know where to look/Instagram first! There were more maids preferring trays of delicacies standing between what I suspected where objets recalling previous shows. The carousel, the water fountain, the lifts, the escalators, the station clock, the hotel corridor… All reminding us of the wonders Marc Jacobs has delivered in the past and making us even more excited to see what was about to be unveiled.
True to form, the show started literally bang on 10am with the chime of a clock and out strode Edie Campbell, arms outstretched, naked save for a thong, second skin, nude hued body suit covered in LV graffiti and a magnificent black headdress. At the end of letter from Marc waiting on each and every seat read the dedication “To the showgirl in all of us” and indeed, what ensued was quite literally one of the most incredibly displays of imagination, innovation and pure sartorial skill I’ve ever been lucky enough to witness.
Of course, being the master of stylish subversion he is, Marc Jacobs showgirls weren’t going to succumb to the rainbow brights and feather boa stereotype. There were feathers and lots of them, but these where oil slick black Ostrich plumes as for SS14 Louis Vuitton is offering up a vision of gothic glamour unlike any you’ve seen before. Floor sweeping black chiffon adorned with glimmering, chiming metallic embellishment came paired with slouchy jeans, graphite grey chains and flat, crocodile biker boots that padded stealthily across the Mongolian lamb rugs covering the entire catwalk. This was haute noir with undertones of punk and a sprinkle of sparkle showcased on ethereal, otherworldly looking models resembling exquisitely beautiful birds of pray. Sculpted jackets with epaulets of spiky black crystals had a military feel while sculpted sweatshirts in woven fabrics bearing the motif “LV Paris” were so far removed from any other athletic influenced garments it took me a while to actually register what they were. This potent blend of vixenish streetwear, showgirl splendour and couture worthy regalia was taken to new heights of drama by the breathtaking tightly choreographed performance of each model making her journey round the water fountain, up the wrought iron lift, along the hotel corridor, down the escalators, past the carousel (on which lounged Kate Upton for the show’s duration) and back round the water fountain offering every attendee the chance to have a good gawp. It takes real cajones to put out an all black collection for Summer, a high risk move considering the rumours that this would be Marc Jacobs’ last collection for the brand – rumours I still refused to even entertain at this point – but the inky hues and hard edged beauty felt oh so perfect. I don’t think pictures would do it justice so here’s the video instead.
At the risk of sounding a little melodramatic – although I think that’s appropriate in this context – the show was really quite moving, a feeling that only increased when it was announced immediately afterwards that Marc would indeed be leaving Louis Vuitton. Former Balenciaga Creative Director, Nicholas Ghesquière is hotly tipped to be taking up the reigns but right now it remains unconfirmed. No doubt all will be revealed soon but whoever dares to follow Marc Jacobs incredible 16 year tenure next has some extremely big shoes to fill.
The feeling you, or at least, I have after leaving a show like that is nothing less than pure exhilaration. In my dizzied state I walked for the best part of a mile in the wrong direction until finally relenting, taking off my shoes and getting a taxi back to the apartment. After a couple of hours working/reading magazines and playing on Facebook I was back in my (literally) killer heels and off to my final show of PFW SS14, Zadig & Voltaire. Wearing a mink trimmed wool cape in 23 degree sunshine is not entirely a comfortable experience. Wearing it inside a boiling, packed out show venue inside Palais de Tokyo is practically unbearable. But, such is my (perhaps foolish) commitment to fashion that I decided to swelter and bear it and thankfully Cecilia Bönström’s latest collection made nearly fainting several times worth it. Admittedly, Zadig & Voltaire is totally not “me”. Their deliberately undone brand of grunge luxe is a far cry from the pastel hues and dainty shoes that tend to reside in my wardrobe but that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it. Hanne Gaby Odile opened the show stomping out in two tone fur, biker boots and a silk slip which oozed French rock n’ roll nonchalance. The collection that followed may not have been exactly earth shatteringly new but it was an excellent example of what this brand does so excellently.
Zadig & Voltaire SS14
Biker inspired staples with lashings of leather and attitude to match accessorised with trilby’s and oversized crucifix earrings. Glimmering burnished metallics were paired with boyish tailoring and deconstructed boudoir silks, a masterclass in how to dress down sequins and shine by way of studied slouch. Sexy in an effortlessly Parisian way that screams “model off duty”, Zadig & Voltaire SS14 definitely got a thumbs up from yours truly.
My first ever Paris Fashion Week was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be and more. Here’s to many more seasons of shows, FROWS and general fabulousness!
Love Ella. X