2007 October 7

Louis Vuitton - Paris Fashion Week Spring 2008

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(PARIS) Marc Jacobs has truly become as much a showman as he is an accomplished designer. His Louis Vuitton show Sunday night saw 12 of the world's most iconic supermodels, including Stephanie Seymour, Natalia Vodianova, Naomi Campbell, Nadja Auermann, and Karolina Kurkova open the show, embracing their curves and all, in a series of naughty nurse uniforms (opaque raincoats over bustier dresses and sheer masks across the face) each armed with a new Vuitton bag and sporting a letter from the brand on their caps to spell out LOUIS VUITTON. The statement-making introduction and bags were a demonstration of the collaboration Vuitton has entered into with contemporary artist Richard Prince, famed for his fetishized hospital motifs. It was a breathtaking moment.

Under a tent lined with romance book covers each bearing "New York by Night," "Copenhagen by Night," or just about any and every other city "by Night," a procession of Vuitton's billion-dollar making forte--those handbags--came marching out on 51 out of the 57 looks. There were the clothes, of course, which were so colorful Vuitton's next project should be to create a box of Crayola crayons based on the rich hues. "Cartoony is totally right for the 21st century; it's what people look like," said Jacobs backstage. "They look like characters, like caricatures. I see adult women, I see young women, I see post-op women, I see all sorts of women dressing like that. It's the 21st century; who cares what you look like?"

The show was a lot to absorb, so much so that a re-see is a must for Vuitton each season. The paint box of pieces, some up, some down, at times seemed randomly assembled, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing here, as the result was a cacophony of artistry that will take a few more looks to fully observe. From the first look, an embroidered gauze trenchcoat that was fully open in the back to reveal the model's purple underwear, to the rainbow of tulle gowns in the end, Jacobs maximized his play with transparency. His demonstration and approach were both tailored--what with the prim skirt and white blouse--and hair-raising, as he sent out a purple strapless tulle gown that looked purposefully unfinished and like wrapping paper. All paired with thigh-high hose in a multitude of contrasting shades.

And as if to poke fun at his audience--"You want some bags? I'll show you some bags!"--Jacobs walked out with a white Vuitton hard luggage jewelry case that had been made over into a portable television playing the show's other touch point, the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants, or, as Jacobs laughed, "Bob l'éponge in French."