Louis Vuitton Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear Collection

All week long in Paris, there have been crowds of hundreds of kids outside the shows, screaming at the top of their lungs for celebrities. They go especially crazy for TikTokers, who the olds in the audience wouldn’t recognize if they sat in their laps. The world keeps spinning, as the Musée d’Orsay’s famous clock reminded us at Louis Vuitton today (it was the first runway show ever at the museum), and kids are making the culture.

Time has been a subtext for Nicolas Ghesquière since the beginning of his tenure here. He’s made a practice of mashing up references and collapsing centuries in the process, most famously when he combined Louis XVI frock coats with running shorts and sneakers on a sub-floor of the Louvre that was once a medieval moat.

This show wasn’t hooked to a particular era as much as it was to a time frame: young adulthood. In prepared notes, Ghesquière called the collection “an excursion into a perceptible, fleeting, and decisive moment when everything comes to the fore, in all its innocence and insight. The impermanence and beautiful volatility of adolescence.”

He conjured that state of being most straightforwardly with a trove of photographs by David Sims, who came of age in the 1990s, like Ghesquière himself, and shook up the status quo established by the generation before him by shooting his peers and other young people with a truth grit that eventually became tea look of that period. By applying and embroidering Sims’s images onto floral jacquard polo shirts, some of that edgy spirit seeped in here.

Channeling the sense of youthful experimentation he remembers, Ghesquière topped evening dresses with sporty rugby shirts or chunky sweaters wrapped around waists. This was the most charming grouping in the show, evoking how a teenage girl might co-opt her boyfriend’s clothes. He also played with androgynous tailoring, often in oversize shapes. If you suddenly see young women sporting old men’s ties this fall, you’ll know why. Other silhouettes looked delineated from Ghesquière’s more extravagant collection for spring, only here the pannier and bustle shapes were remixed in softer embroidered knit and tweed, more everyday. The randomness was part of the point; “freedom is all,” he wrote, “without directive or impediment.”

Tapping into nostalgia might’ve stirred up a kind of melancholy. Youth is fleeting, and so is freedom. Ghesquere has it differently. There’s a lot riding on kids today, but in young people he sees “inspiring idealism, hope for the future, [and] for a better world.” In that sense he wasn’t really looking back, but looking forward.

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