'This collection is dedicated to the women who inspire me and to the showgirl in all of us' stated Marc Jacobs of his swansong show for French luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton which opened the Paris season this morning.
Emmanuelle Alt, Jane Birkin, Betty Catroux, Judy Garland, Miuccia Prada and Vivienne Westwood were all among those namechecked. Jacobs also cited his creative director of womenswear Julie de Libran and show stylist and editor in chief of LOVE magazine, Katie Grand, as inspiration. A single page in the show notes read, meanwhile: 'To Robert Duffy and Bernard Arnault, all my love, always.' These men are Jacobs' own business partner and the LVMH president respectively.
On a black lacquer catwalk clad in shearling and dominated by retrospective installations - from a black Caroussel to a fountain, and from cast iron lift shafts to a Louis Vuitton clock - the first model came out - or indeed up - in a fishnet catsuit embroidered with black graffiti referencing Jacobs' phenomenally successful collaboration with Stephen Sprouse and a huge feathered head-dress courtesy of Stephen Jones.
Later, and all also in black, came Louis Vuitton jeans embroidered with lozenges of jet, clusters of plumage and paillettes - and neat boxy fur dresses inset with panels of jewelled netting and lace.
'When I look around Paris it isn't the depth of the city that takes my breath away, it's the ornamentation that dazzles,' Jacobs continued and perhaps the most clever thing about this collection was the play between that and real clothes. These suggested everything from street fashion - that denim, perfecto jackets from shrunken to oversized, bombers that read Paris 14, flat black leather boots - to precious vintage shop finds.
However simple that may seem - and the truth is it's how many people want to dress - the surface embellishment was anything but. It's safe to say that the rarefied Paris couture ateliers have been working flat out on these extraordinary pieces for some time. Fur, leather and exotic skins, meanwhile, are the responsibility of Vuitton's own studios and nobody does it better.
'It is not about thinking, it is about feeling... I take pleasure from things for exactly what they are, revelling in the pure adornment of beauty for beauty's sake,' Jacobs concluded. 'Connecting with something on a superficial level is as honest as connecting with it on an intellectual level.'
During his glittering 16 year tenure at Vuitton, honesty and a heartfelt love of beauty in the purest sense have indeed been the two most prominent and powerful emotions throughout. It has been a privilege to witness Jacobs' work for the house and Louis Vuitton have been very lucky to have him.
Watch the full show below...