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August 31, 2016

Decoding Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2016 Collection

Text by Wyanet Vaz

We take a closer look at the collection that leans towards neo-classics and steampunk

Your idea of the iconic French maison may be anchored by Marc Jacobs’ mad genius, Takashi Murakami’s vibrant Multicolore monogram collection, the image of Catherine Deneuve and her luggage beside a steam engine, or present artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière’s life-changing A-line skirts. For a brand that surrounds itself with foundation pieces and classics that secure a wardrobe, the anticipation behind every collection is built on the blurring of the past and future.

The luxury consumer today looks towards self-expression and individualism. In these circumstances, Louis Vuitton rides on the shoulders of Ghèsquiere, who is known for distorting the idea of ‘time’. After setting last season’s fashion mood with the ’70s vibe, he takes on athleisure with his Pre-Fall line and marries it with an intelligent, emotional and complex adaptation of the trend. Since neo-fashionistas no longer live and die by new trends, Pre-Fall brings back colourblocked pants from last season and Victorian blousons alongside long bomber jackets and knitted crop tops.

With sports apparel no longer confined to monkey bars and treadmills, the brand suggests that you wear motocross leggings with bomber jackets or anything else that is not also activewear. ‘Never forget that what becomes timeless was once truly new’ is the designer’s anthem, one that facilitates his ability to have a huge impact on the fashion world. Read, the collar necks and his mustard and beige vision that dictated trends for Fall 2014.

The transition to Pre-Fall has been methodical indeed. The zip-front minidresses from Fall 2014 make a sporty comeback.Ghesquière spearheads the idea of laissez-faire with neo-classics in Victorian-shouldered sweaters and leg-of-mutton sleeves from Fall 2015. Motocross leggings are as structured as they can get, with colourblocking and oversized front zips giving a nod to sportswear. He makes the most of the fashion house’s leather know-how with gauntlets that work their way to the biceps. Belts are cinched at the waist, and platform combat boots come in calfskin. Call it steampunk or just a fashionable take on Mad Max, the lasting impression is that of an uninhibited sense of experimentation. Playing close to the seams, the artistic director cleverly balances his own tastes with the demands placed on him by a luxury conglomerate.

The litmus test is undeniably his ability to play with leather goods — the very essence of the 160-year-old brand. With the theory of ‘logo fatigue’ doing the rounds, Louis Vuitton has upped its game with the resurgence of the Petit Malle. It comes in a diminutive version, with animal print and scattered sequins — functional and up-to-date. The new Twist is an updated version of the Trapeze clutch from 1988, whose lock featured the interlaced letters — L and V. The bag includes the signature turn lock — an architectural metal closure that makes it utilitarian and edgy. The City Steamer, (which is a modern take on the classic Steamer series) is crafted in crocodilian and grained epi leather, with contrasting edges. Adding fluidity to activewear, this functional bag makes a strong case for Ghesquière who restores bits and pieces of vintage Vuitton and lets you make it your own.

Androgyny and elevated sportwear are well-established themes in the ateliers of the luxury house. The new collection also scores on credibility mainly because of the combination of the familiar with the brand-new. Putting together flared dresses with combat boots may seem like a radical approach, but once you adjust to the newness of the look, it becomes identifiable over time.

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