Rajasthan, the land of kings in the northwestern corner of India, inspires Louis Vuitton in an exploration of the origins of menswear, offering a timeless look of true sophistication.
“While last season’s collection was about looking down at the earth from above, this time we’ve looking up at the stars,” says Kim Jones, Men’s Style Director.
While travelling in Rajasthan Jones discovered Sawai Jai Singh, the king who built Jaipur, India’s pink city, and constructed its fantastic Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory gardens in the early 18th century, that inspired the set design this season.
From Jaipur and the palaces of the lake cities of Udaipur to Ranthambore, the former hunting grounds of the maharajas of Jaipur, and the Taj Mahal at Agra, a vision of contemporary and eternal India, which predates European traditions and spans over five to six hundred years, has been remixed by Louis Vuitton into a glamorous blend of sophisticated embellished fabrics, smart military tailoring and inventive sport style.
In a spectacular modernization of classic Indian embellishment, Shisha mirrored embroidery with LV engraved mirrors, appears constellation-style across flight jackets with blue tone-on-tone high textured embroidery in ceramic-coated and Mako yarns; a glamorous sport hybrid that can be worn with high-waist military shorts, or zipped into an all-in-one military flight suit.
Pattern is omnipresent. The Louis Vuitton Karakoram motif is translated into a range of subtle zigzag herringbone variations in fine suit wools for peaked lapel jackets and pants with a more defined, slightly higher waist and long, straight leg. Modern India with a 70s accent shows in the tailoring colorations from warm, natural military khakis and browns to indigo denim blue for crisp cotton suits with embossed leather buttons, and the subtle sheen of silks in a range of formal darks and princely white for evening.
Patterns continue in a more pronounced way for shirts inspired by Indian turban fabrics and embroidery motifs. Large scale multicolor Karakoram, shot with the season’s blue, shocking pink and orange colors, appear on a dotted ground taken from India’s Mothra tie dye technique, which places the dots very tightly as a traditional mark of social rank. White cotton/silk shirts are a shadowy Chikan style sampler of traditional Indian patterns interspersed with the Gaston V in patchwork jacquard. And filmy silk organza short sleeve shirts, some with Karakoram display strikingly airy Indian exoticism. Polo shirts in a V patchwork of bright orange and pink on khaki, evoke India’s chic maharaja sportsmen.
Outerwear associates refined leathers, military tailoring, silks and sophisticated technical fabrics in pieces that are chic and performing. The trench in twill textured Louis Vuitton signature natural cowhide leather is both sumptuous and rugged, and the overcoat in dark silk with Indian military gold sundial buttons has a technical Aertex silk and cashmere bicolor lining for elegant performance. Twill leather reappears in a military flight suit and wool twill trench coats sport suede epaulettes, while blousons show in traditional and tunic versions in suede with suede ribbing at the waist. Knits combine Louis Vuitton Karakoram stripes and symbolic Indian patterns. The tee-shirt is treated with the collection’s caravansary elephant in ornate jacquard instead of print on Indian style super-mercerized cotton. Super fine 21 gauge cashmere sweaters are narrow striped at the neck and hem with silk, while silk sweaters are given the same treatment with cashmere stripes. Spring’s cardigan looks like a bomber jacket with matte jersey body and satin sleeves, and silk chenille knit in bicolor appears as a warm-up vest under a jacket.
Four special edition trunks, a desktop case, guitar case, record case and composer’s case designed to hold music paper, ink and notebooks, have been included in this collection in aged natural cowhide with fine calf interior.
The Maison’s classic Monogram signature has been reversed in three new bags featuring LV Monogram trim on solid tanned deer leather in the season’s doctor bag, soft weekend suitcase and vertical tote with Monogram straps and tags.
This season also marks the launch of the new V bag collection. Made of an exclusive light, supple and water-repellent leather, it is especially designed for modern urban nomads: multi-purpose bags fitting all daily activities, from gym to the office. Signed with a Gaston V, the collection provides a contemporary vision of travel, matching the pace of 21st century.
Singh’s 19th century descendant, Sawai Ram Singh II’s crossed bridge glasses also inspired this season’s eyewear, while Indian sundials appear on belt buckles, cuff links, rings and bag charms along with a guitar flectrum pendant in malachite on a necklace.
Footwear for this modern Indian vision is both contemporary and precious featuring aligator leather sneakers in simple black or white.
This show is dedicated to Professor Louise Wilson OBE.
Runway: Louis Vuitton / Ludwig Bonnet