As a house that first started creating luggage that could withstand the vigour of travel, adventure is written into the DNA of Louis Vuitton. Pharrell Williams seems determined to take his vision for the Maison’s menswear on a trek similar to the one its founder once took, only his started in Paris. A stopover in Hong Kongand now, the world and mythology of America’s West.
But this wasn’t John Wayne’s fictional West. Williams and Louis Vuitton ensured that what was sent down the runway presented the living, breathing West of history with its tapestry of Black and First Nations people which were represented in the show’s casting. The latter was directly tied to the creative process. According to the house, artisans from Dakota and Lakota tribes collaborated on accessories providing stunning hand-painted details and embroidered Speedy bags that we imagine at least one of will end up in the hands of Jacob Elordi very soon.
Williams is, at heart, a showman and this is apparent in every gesture that he has so far made during his time at Louis Vuitton. This isn’t a bad thing either – fashion is at its core theatre. A show of this scale, thought, it’s hard not to be caught up in the sublime of it all. It’s only when you get a little closer, however, that you really experience just how peerless that the studio and artisan teams of Louis Vuitton are with their craftsmanship.
Denim is embellished with pearl and sequin floral embroideries, gunmetal washes, and sunbeam and rain beading, along with Western floral prints. In what could be a Louis Vuitton first, chaps are presented in studded or embroidered denim and fringed leather, showcasing Monogram designs and florals. Leather jackets and trousers are intricately embossed to resemble saddles. Buttons and studs inlaid with turquoise adorn trouser and tailoring.
The most exciting part is how wholeheartedly Williams and Louis Vuitton dive into the decadence of the cowboy, an image so often put on pedestal for its austere masculinity while ignoring how colourful the culture is and its tradition of dressing up. Workwear is elevated, embellished. Dungarees are now tailored. The Maison wasn’t afraid to take it to a more cinematic level either, as could be seen by a show-stopping red leather rancher suit dripping in patches.
Adventure, as we said in the beginning, lay at the heart of all travel. How exciting when you realise that. Williams’, and Louis Vuitton’s, journey has only just begun and this is what we’re seeing already.
This story first appeared on GRAZIA International.