This being 2010, the Louis Vuitton show started promptly at 2:30 pm, the better to satisfy the house’s 1,000,000+ Facebook fans watching the event live. Too bad for any editors expecting a traditionally late show. But what those virtual guests couldn’t see were the program notes quoting notes of another kind—Notes on Camp, to be exact, author and theorist Susan Sontag’s seminal 1964 essay on the subject.
Well, did they need to? They only had to observe it at the opium den of a collection, with its sensuous cheongsam dresses, sparkling sequin obi sashes, lace fans, beaded fringe and orchid-print numbers, not to mention the kitschy backdrop of beaded curtains and tiger statues (an animal theme closed the show), reminiscent of any number of restaurants in Chinatown.
As always with Marc Jacobs, the show was above all about triggering our memories. And his oriental reverie brought to mind Yves Saint Laurent’s chinoiseries, as well as Tom Ford’s farewell show at that house in 2004, and even, strangely, stylist Catherine Baba’s personal wardrobe (a camp-loving friend of mine also mentioned Dallas’ Pamela Ewing). With its rich, jewel hues of deep purples and blues mixed with gold, it also recalled the stunning Louis Vuitton collection of spring ’09.
So nothing incredibly original to report, but there was something inexplicably compelling about the show. Maybe it was the production, with those big cats; those pools of light in an otherwise pitch-black room; the eerie, jewelry-box-like Walter Carlos soundtrack; or the great casting (including comeback girls Kristen McMenamy and Alek Wek). No computer screen can ever faithfully render the spellbinding atmosphere it created. Sorry, Facebook fans.