Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2012 report: Louis Vuitton

06 October 2011

I have never (in all my years) heard a gasp as loud as the one that rippled through the audience when the curtain went up at the start of the Louis Vuitton show to reveal a full sized carousel, painted all in white, with 48 models in the new spring summer collection perched on top of the horses. I promise I am not exaggerating (well, maybe only the teeniest bit) when I say it was as close as any of us have got to a celestial vision. All that and Kate Moss too, who only walks for Marc these days and when she asked if she could close the show…….well how could he refuse.

Music as delicate as a child’s music box accompanied the models as the merry go round started up and each one of them hopped off their ‘galopping’ horse to make an individual round of the circular stage.

The rumours that an announcement about Marc Jacob’s move to Dior is imminent just won’t go away. It was widely discussed as we filed into the venue,  that the powers that be would most likely wait for the Vuitton reviews to come in before anything was said, lest an announcement steal the thunder from what is one of the most anticipated and most expensively produced shows on the Paris calendar. ‘Early next week,’ said one internet pundit with mock authority. ‘I hazard they’ll want to give the all important US newspapers time to get back behind their desks,’ said another. ‘They’, of course, is Bernard Arnault, mighty chairman of LVMH the most powerful luxury goods group in the world who is often referred to in the plural. It is he who owns both Louis Vuitton and Dior as well as myriad other brands.

Marc was bombarded by journalists after the show, all of whom had been warned that if they mentioned the ‘D’ word he would be whisked away forthwith. Another rumour had it that negotiations had ground to a halt because Marc was insisting his entire Vuitton creative team came with him. Whatever the situation, it was an emotional Marc who said, ‘I'm so proud of the teams we've got here. I couldn't do any of this without them.  I could never do this anywhere else, do you know what I mean?’

Was this show a highly polished audition for one of the biggest jobs in the fashion world? You can judge as well as me. But it certainly was an exquisite antidote to the doom and gloom that, these days, seems impossible to escape. Light as air dresses in sorbet colours created an image of almost cartoon femininity. If the models had drifted off like Disney Tinkerbells, I am not sure any of us would have been that surprised. It was a world away from the gritty realities of budgets and employment figures and debt crises and recession. Fashion heaven would surely look like this.

Silhouettes sat away from the body creating a girlish lightness. Shoulder lines were delicate. Waists sat easily (a far cry from the S+M cinch of last season). A baby blue short sleeved sweater had a lace Peter Pan collar and was worn with a demure knee length pencil skirt in apricot crepe. A lemon yellow jacket with white lace collar was cropped at the waist of a matching bell shaped skirt. Guipure lace was overlaid with organza. Daisies studded with crystal decorated a knee length cotton shift. A coat, cut like an extended biker jacket, had attitude but nothing edgy about it cut in palest peppermint stamped leather.

Mini shoppers in the style of children’s plastic baskets were laser cut leather. Shoes were high heeled ankle slimming mules. And hair was decorated with delicate alice bands that twinkled with a sprinkling of crystals. It was impeccable. We wanted it all. ‘I want it all too,’ beamed one enthusiastic retailer, ‘every single piece. But I have to warn you the prices make Balmain look like bargains at New Look.’

Can someone please get to grips with this blasted backsliding recession so we can shop again? So many divine dresses: so many deserving women.

- Paula Reed in Paris


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