Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cherchez la femme...

Louis Vuitton

I really don't use the word "charming" to describe very much, least of all fashion. But it's probably the only word suitable to describe the Vuitton collection for fall. From the neat, perky little pony-tails bouncing behind the models' heads to the full, mid-calf circle skirts swishing as they walked the entire presentation was such a throw back, so retro and pretty that I'm finding it impossible to hate even though I know that I probably should. Both of Marc Jacobs' collections this season revisited the past, but where his namesake collection was a personal exploration of his own past, his Vuitton collection was a nostalgic trip back in time to the era that gave us one of the most enduring images of idealized femininity. With their breasts pushed up and out, waists belted and skirts flaring from the hip, the girls were the epitome of traditional womanhood. It's not at all the type of femininity I'm normally drawn to or inspired by, and yet like I said I'm finding it hard to resist. It's certainly not Marc's best collection, and truth be told his Spring 2001 Louis Vuitton collection was a much more interesting, contemporary take on the same era and look, but there's still a freshness to this despite how literal and familiar it is. Even though this is missing the hint of subversion that would be needed to make these clothes something other than revisited vintage, the look is something that hasn't been seen in a while. The message within this collection is far stronger than the ideas used to create it.

The shift away from hard, boyishly androgynous, extremely youthful, pseudo-edgy femininity has really been the driving force behind this season, so it seems appropriate that the most forceful effort was saved for last (well, last-ish anyway). On her blog Cathy Horyn pointed out how Vuitton in Paris and Prada in Milan served as bookends for the European shows, and as usual she's dead on. Let's be realistic, if the two designers who are, arguably, fashion's most accurate barometers for what's next have zeroed in on the very same idea, chances are it could signal some kind of overall shift. Had it been just one of them out on this limb by themselves, you might be able to brush it off as just another one of their seasonal fixations. But the combined powers of Marc and Miuccia aren't something to be ignored. We may just be in for some change come spring.

all images from

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