Louis Vuitton creative chief debuts with fresh, intelligent collection to close Paris fashion week

Nicholas Ghesquiere brings novel approach to fashion giant’s familiar house codes


As Paris fashion week closed yesterday all eyes were on Nicholas Ghesquiere, the new creative head at Louis Vuitton, making his debut collection in the Louvre courtyard for the world’s most valuable luxury brand.

Replacing Marc Jacobs who stepped down after 17 years at the helm, the French designer literally let in the light, marking the start of the show with the opening of the metal shutters that surrounded the auditorium, allowing in bright rays of sunshine. It was an apt metaphor for this grounded, intelligent collection that brought a fresh new approach to the familiar house codes and its roots as a leather goods company.

The silhouette was simple and girlish. Free of superfluous theatrics and ostentatious styling, the collection primarily focussed on leather, from neat black crocodile coats to leather and tweed A-line skirts with sporty vest tops or patterned knits cinched with leather belts.

The house’s heritage has always been harnessed to fine leather craftsmanship and this quiet opulence extended not just to new versions of its signature epi bag and patent ankle boots but to fitted dresses in nude leather and patchworked bomber jackets with bright blue skirts or shiny vinyl pants. These were everyday chic, city clothes for city girls, contrasting muted shades with bright colours, the only jarring note being the overly busy cut-out leather and silk dresses with waterfall sleeves.

Sarah Burton
There was certainly nothing everyday about Sarah Burton’s masterful, darkly romantic collection for Alexander McQueen in the riding arena of the republican guard. Instead this was the stuff of fantasy and fairytale inspired by The Beauty and the Beast, and 18th-century references abounded in the shapely tiered full skirts, embonpoint and richly elaborate embroideries.

The handcraft was extraordinary, with everything from smocking and scalloping to pleating and pompoms and the use of fur – skunk, fox and goat – lush and lavish. Hands were decorated with silver acorn jewellery, hair with cornrows and tendrils and boots tied with velvet bows.

Elizabethan in spirit, these wild snow queens belonged to another age.