The stars aligned for Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton this season. Before a single model took to the runway, many in the audience were already smitten. Dogged by Eurostar woes, there’s been a collective yearning among Paris show-goers for more civilized modes of transportation. Et voilà! At the stroke of ten, a fully operational vintage locomotive steamed into the Cour Carree du Louvre. By some fashion magic, Jacobs had taken zeitgeist prediction to an almost uncanny level.
And then the show started for real, and the anticipation was justified. Marrying fin-de-siècle old world romance with sixties haute bohemia, coats were double-breasted with wide lapels and jeweled buttons. Every look was heavily layered—jacket over midi-skirt over ankle-grazing flared pant—in a way that recalled the dressing rituals of the past, without a suggestion of costuminess. Empire lines created an elegant silhouette, crowned by Stephen Jones’ outsized velvet cloche hats.
Richness was the key word here, not only in the profusion of pieces incorporated into each look but also in the abundance of glittering, holographic brocades, all created in-house by Jacobs’ design team. Each model was accompanied by a liveried porter toting her bags—after all, these global travelers can't be expected to carry their own suitcases. Checkerboard jacquards referred to classic Louis Vuitton insignia in a show that celebrated the brand’s original customers, packing their trunks when international travel was the preserve of the elite. It was a kind of radical nostalgia; one can’t help feeling that Louis Vuitton, luggage-maker, would have approved.