paris fashion week: louis vuitton

(images via style)

i feel as though i’m always setting myself up to fail when it comes to those, like, fashionie-beloved labels, and of course the ones owned by conglomerates lvmh and ppr, but as i’ve often said, i think there are a lot of people in some verrry deep pockets, and that there has to be more to the story than merely some designers bringing it, like, all the time. but! i also want you to know that i do think i’m fair–or try to be–and there are those moments when i’m pleased with a designer, even one i’ve criticized roughly in the past, and i’ll say so firmly, as in marc jacobs’ a/w 2012 collection.

so! as the fashionies go into some collections (and just for a moment, don’t you think it’s quite mysterious that some critics, like, never have a problem with anything certain brands do, but coincidentally, they’re never, like, small labels, but big houses such as balenciaga or louis vuitton). well. so, hi. here’s where we enter in for the a/w 2013 season. now. i think, as i’ve stated above, we are all well aware that i think marc jacobs is possessed of some great talents, both for his own house and for lv (see a/w 2010, s/s 2011, a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013). so there’s that.

and yet, there are many reasons i find it interesting people fawn over mr. jacobs, in and out, even when he does things like the one i want to discuss at the moment, things which i have a hard time believe would be so easily overlooked in…basically any other designer (and certainly not one without the hardcore ad dollars of that powerhouse lvmh backing them up). this is, last season, whilst critics lauded both his s/s 2013 eponymous collection, and his vuitton show, i wondered that no one would call them out on their eerie similarities.

i mean, yes, i understand, same designer and all of that–we’re expecting the labels to have some parallels, but of course. however, if miuccia prada’s miu miu and prada labels seem to be distinctly of their own flavour each season, i’m finding that, once again, when comparing mr. jacobs’ nyfw work for the a/w 2013 season, and the lv show…can’t we just say they feel too close for comfort? the graphic prints, the sixties riffs of both from spring, the sparkles, the retro throwback, the boudoir-visiting for fall…where were the separates here?

in other words, i thought they felt much too much alike, but moreover, i find it baffling that, like, no critics called him out on it. and that’s, for me, ultimately the part that sticks, that suggests something under the scenes taking place (yes, under, and not behind, because i feel it’s more sinister than all of that). and anyway, was trotting a bunch of girls out in their pajamas really such a delicious idea we needed to see it twice this season? apparently mr. jacobs thought so, and with him, all of the everyone.

and thus, once again, opt stands alone. and here again i feel the need to say i’m not without some appreciation for the designer’s work, and that includes the vuitton show. there were some pretty pieces, and i was particularly drawn to those lacy, silky teddy bear-esque pieces, from isabeli fontana’s scant little black negligee, to bregje heinen’s grandma-chic floral number, and especially catherine mcneil’s v-necked sheer embroidered black midi-length look, which had a certain flapper appeal about it.

but (and here’s where i know i’m going to be sent rolls of hate mail and biological weapons) i can’t help but ask the question we’ve asked of several designers this season: isn’t this really more about styling than it is actual design? to be sure, i don’t doubt mr. jacobs has his days as a great designer–for example, those complex mash-up dresses from his s/s 2009 show were, like, fully on another level. but i also can’t help but wonder (particularly as the question begs whether he’s getting a bit cocky and too sure of himself heaped as he is in a large feather bed of praise) if these days have passed, and he’s merely about mixing up ideas in a way people aren’t entirely comfortable with yet.

however (and i promise this is the last thought ere i move on!), as a member of several, erm, artistic societies as i have been at various points in my life, i can firmly attest to being an enthusiast of the innerwear-as-outerwear trend for approximately the last decade. now, i’m not trying to take credit for anything, but merely to point out that there are people who have been doing this, and it’s not even bloody, like, new. maybe to the fashionies, who are just now realizing a lacy negligee can be a pretty spicy dress substitute, but as a starving artist-type, one learns awfully bloody quickly that a lacy camisole is much cheaper in the lingerie department than its (similar) counterpart in the clothing area of the shop.

so there we go! that’s my take! that, and as we’ve been saying at other houses (versace) when you’re dealing with ideas that riff on streetwear (or lingerie), you have to remember that the kids can get it a lot bleeding cheaper somewhere else. or vintage. so mr. jacobs, i think, has just invited some very, very enticing competitors to his parade of sleepwear, although i suppose ultimately he’s not too worried about that, as we all of us know that there are plenty of fashionies, rich ladies, and actress-y types willing to shell out just for that lv label on the inside.

right, then. so critical time? “mostly the Vuitton show recalled the romantic sensuality of John Galliano in his early days. That particular hard romance lived on in the Louis Vuitton sheath that went from bra top through tweed body to lace hem. The Marc Jacobs message was so clearly and invitingly portrayed that it raised the fashion desire, gasped the iht‘s suzy menkes, declaring “it was just about lust,” as us vogue similarly yipped that “Jacobs may have touched on almost every single direction the coming season has thrown at us—menswear fabrics, heavily worked coats, things that look like they’re meant for cocooning at home—but in its unabashed aching romance, and in its desire to create a personal, human-scaled sense of what Louis Vuitton can be, it was a collection that touched heart and mind.”

and according to style, “(t)he clothes on the runway were lovely, with their muted, sleepy colors and the deluxe details that Vuitton does so well,” while the telegraph opined that “(s)ome of the outfits were demure – belted below the knee suits under 50s duster coats. Others were more deshabillé, as if our heroine had to beat a hasty retreat at 4am with nothing but her ankle grazing sable coat between her and despair. There were no monogrammes to be seen on the discreet, squashy clutch-bags. Like many fashion brands, Louis Vuitton is at pains these days to distance itself from the taint of vulgarity. Well, you would, wouldn’t you, when you line your alligator handbags with mink?”

then wwd opined that “(t)he show pulsed with emotion….Suggestive of the aforementioned decadence and eccentricity? Sure. But those are partial descriptives. Jacobs is also a savvy designer who here delivered a lineup of stellar commercial clothes,” and grazia joined in that “(i)n a season where the play between the masculine and the feminine has loomed large, some of the show’s strongest moments fused both in a single look: traditional menswear fabrics, and tweeds in particular, were cut into curvy dresses with petticoat straps and trimmed with lace.”

then, said uk vogue, “Jacobs is obviously feeling more ‘grown-up’ this season – his own mainline too took a leaf [ed note: more like the introduction plus several chapters] out of this decadent and romantic, ‘ladylike’ book. This designer is asking us to indulge next season – and sometimes staying in is actually just the way to do that, hotel or no hotel,” and the nyt‘s cathy horyn (and this is where i think things get really suspect) stated that “(t)hough most of his audience probably had sleep in mind (Mr. Jacobs wore pajamas), this collection was indeed inviting, with some beautiful undies mixed in with handsome, strict coats and powder-puff bags.”

yet, in the end, it was elle that seemed to most-like get where i was coming from, concluding that “(b)ut if fashion is a reflection of the times, what was Marc Jacobs saying here? That decadence and money are no object to the Vuitton customer? That fashion now should be all about fantasy, romance, glamour? That it’s all about getting dressed up, no matter where you’re going or what the occasion? The show notes talked about finding the most glamorous destination in one’s own hotel room. If only real life could be a fantasy as projected by Marc Jacobs.” hmm. okay, maybe their objections are different, but at least they’re calling him on something. at this point, that’s all i can ask for. start with the feet of clay.

(enjoy the complete catwalk video here)

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