Yesterday, someone asked me what I thought about the new crop of Louis Vuitton bags from the brand's Fall 2016 runway, and the first thing that sprang to mind was, "Well, there's a lot going on." I don't mean that in a bad way (the collection is often excellent), but it also means I don't know where to start. There were plenty of Vuitton signatures in the show--monograms, train cases, lots of steamer inspiration throughout--but it was combined with plenty of things that I'd never think of as classically LV. First of all, there was quite a bit of traditional leopard print, which I can't remember Vuitton doing at any point in the recent past and which at times made certain bags feel a little Givenchy. There were also scarf handles, oil slick mirrored metallics, mixed prints, beaded fringe and a handful of new bag shapes for both day and evening. (Plus a few for travel.) It was, in short, a lot. Most of it was also a lot of fun, though, don't get me wrong--I'm just still digesting it all.
LOUIS VUITTON FALL WINTER RUNWAY BAG
On the sporty side, there were mohair sweaters and jacket-sweater hybrids with racing stripes up and down the arms. Color-blocked stretchy knit shirts and tube dresses looked like relatively easy-on-the-wallet ways to buy into the look. Representing the sensual side were midi-length dresses in heritage scarf prints and a white silk number topped by a black leather harness that caught the runway breeze. We liked the look of zip-front, molded-hip jackets worn with loosely tailored bondage pants, and nipped-waist coats with exaggerated storm flaps. The diversity of the clothes was matched by a wide range of bags, the most eye-catching of which was a softly structured style apparently modeled on a double-handled plastic shopping bag. It doesn’t get much more streetwise than the show’s lace-front combat boots. Ghesquière dipped into the archive of others, as well. The ending section of sequin slip dresses looked like a nod to a late-’90s collection of the Belgian designer Martin Margiela, whom Ghesquière has long revered and who has become a popular reference point this season with the rise of Vetements. Demna Gvasalia made a big splash with his debut at Ghesquière’s former stomping grounds earlier this week. Were the dresses a tweak in his direction? Insiders will be hashing that out as they make their ways home from Paris in the coming days. But it won’t matter one stitch to customers, who will appreciate and buy into the frocks’ haute-casual vibes and poetic spirit.Perhaps it wasn't obvious from the first look at Nicolas Ghesquière's sporty punky gang, but he approached Louis Vuitton's autumn/winter 2016 collection by looking back; it was about recasting yesterday's creations for today's tastes. And so, fusty, vintage looking scarf prints depicting chains or paisley were fashioned into slip dresses with handkerchief hems, some decorated in sparkling sequins, and partnered up with ultra-cropped boxy leather jackets and tread-sole boots. The Paris-based artist, Justin Morin collaborated with Ghesquière on the set, which took shape as an ad hoc arrangement of 57 concrete columns ripped in half and clad in smashed mirrored tiles (an installation that was inspired by his work 'Melted Bones', 2011). It looked like some meteorite had hit the Louis Vuitton Foundation from outer space. While we're on the subject of epic journeys, for show goers - including Léa Seydoux, Selena Gomez, Jaden Smith and Alicia Vikander - it was no small task arriving here this morning. With a public transport strike, heavy rain and traffic to contend with, the show was 45-minutes late in starting. It proved to be worth the wait. It’s no secret that the modern day iteration of Louis Vuitton rests on the laurels of its luggage brand heritage. And why not? There is truly nothing better than an oversized trunk splashed with monogrammed LV’s. Since he arrived on the scene in 2013, creative director Nicolas Ghesquière has been busy transforming the brand’s DNA into a digestible range for millennials. And he’s been doing a phenomenal job of capturing their hearts (and Instagram accounts). For one thing, his front rows are packed with young stars of the A-list caliber, including Selena Gomez, Jaden Smith and even top model Karlie Kloss. Further, his runway sets are imaginative and captivating, just like the commissioned creation by Justin Morin for Fall/Winter 2016. Featuring shattered mirrors and gargantuan crystals, the Vuitton show space was both captivating and social media friendly. Finally, there is the actual clothing, which is a hybrid of haute design and wearable sportswear. Red patent leather cropped flares were equally as enchanting as billowy patchwork t-shirt dresses. Sculptural coats with a sporty influence were major players, as were corset details on dresses, jackets and tops. But this season, we were particularly captivated by the handbag selection. Running the gamut from holographic trunks to crocodile totes, Mr. Ghesquère flexed his design muscle while paying astute attention to the Vuitton roots. Without further ado, here are all the drool-worthy bags from the Fall/Winter range.