Of all the wonderful sights we saw at Paris Fashion Week, nothing could've prepared us for a ginormous steam train pulling into the catwalk. But that's exactly what we got at Louis Vuitton's Autumn Winter 2012 show, which took place inside a courtyard of the Louvre yesterday morning.
Beneath a classic station clock, we took our seats alongside the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Caroline Sieber, then — as the clock struck 10 — a procession of elegant travellers strutted down the 'platform', each accompanied by a white-gloved porter carrying their luggage. Talk about a fashion spectacular!
After the show, Grazia caught up with Katie Grand to get the inside scoop on the show's inspiration, last minute dramas and how the stylist extraordinaire unwinds post-fashion week...
Grazia Daily: What prompted you to create such an incredible set this season?
Katie Grand: We talked really early on about showing luggage and a train seemed the perfect way to show luggage. It was a huge production. At first, we had tried to get a real train in to the Louvre, but it was too heavy so it had to be built. They started work about a month ago. We'd looked at great train films like Murder On The Orient Express, Some Like It Hot and Strangers On A Train for reference, and in the end, she was quite like the Orient Express.
Grazia Daily: Were you into trains when you were a child?
Katie Grand: Not really, I suppose I remember Jimmy Saville on the This Is The Age Of The Train commercial! But the Vuitton train wasn't really like anything I ever saw in Birmingham.
Grazia Daily: Have you ever been on a memorable train journey yourself?
Katie Grand: Only in Tokyo. We knew the Vuitton train wasn't that kind of train though!
Grazia Daily: Were there any last minute dramas?
Katie Grand: It was the first time we haven't started the show two minutes early in quite a few seasons. Backstage, we were all completely frantic that we were running four minutes late, but I suppose that's how a lot of trains run!
Because the clothes were so heavily embroidered and engraved, the process was particuarly intricate. There were embroideries being done all over Paris up until the last minute then, because the studio is being rebuilt at the moment, we were in a different building to the atelier. It wasn't very easy! We all think we might do a pale chiffon collection for summer with no embellishment or print!
Grazia Daily: What was the inspiration for the collection?
Katie Grand: We looked at so much stuff - Paper Moon, Some Like It Hot, Chequered Past by Peter Schlessinger, pictures of Anna Piaggi and then things were in our minds from the original Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and the Munchkinland in The Wizard Of Oz, although we didn't really have any pictures, which were directly used, understandably. We also knew early on we wanted to work on special fabrics so many of them had engraved stones, stitched onto special tweeds with lurex.
Grazia Daily: What is your favourite look from the show?
Katie Grand: I loved Caroline Brasch Nielsen's look [above left]. It was so bold and chic.
Grazia Daily: Did you design the porter uniforms too?
Katie Grand: We oversaw them. Diane in the studio had the job of casting and working out the uniforms.
Grazia Daily: We also saw dramatic hats at the Marc Jacobs show...
Katie Grand: Hats give a really great proportion to the silhouette. We had wanted a super long, lean line so it was important to have high hats and extremely high shoes. I had said in all of the fittings that the girls should look like the letter 'L'.
Grazia Daily: Which is the must-have bag for every woman this Autumn Winter 2012?
Katie Grand: The crocodile hatbox!
Grazia Daily: What are you most excited about people seeing at the Louis Vuitton exhibition?
Katie Grand: Oh God, all of it. I love 'Marc's world' with all of the clips and images - that was super fun to work on. The Afgan hound is my favourite of the animals, wearing Lara Stone's outfit from the Africa collection. The Busby Berkley shoe cabinet is great too... So much of it!
Grazia Daily: After five spectacular shows this season, how do you unwind?
Katie Grand: I'm off to Mexico on Friday with Katie Hillier, Camilla Lowther and Liz Collins.
Wowee, enjoy! And thank you.