Louis Vuitton at its basic core is a luxury travel brand that started out making luggage and didn't move onto clothes until much later. This is something menswear designer Kim Jones has paid attention to in his two collections for the French powerhouse. Last season's African theme clearly set the tone as a collection of globetrotter gear inspired by cultures from all over the world. His sophomore show took a new turn - instead of looking south, Jones turned his eyes first to the west, to America, and then towards the east and Japan. Jones' starting point was US illustrator Antonio Lopez, an artist that has been immensely inspired by both Paris and Tokyo in his work.
"Antonio Lopez was an illustrator who worked a lot in Paris during the 70s, and moved on to work in Japan in the 80s"
But there were not many clear references á la last season's red and blue Masai scarf - instead Jones let the cities inspire him and set the tone for the collection. The only straight forward Oriental piece was a midnight blue kimono jacket that came out towards the end. Other than that there were a few clear nods to Antonio Lopez through oversized scarves bearing patterns inspired by his work.
The pieces that stood out, and there were quite a few, included the Louis Vuitton tailoring theme of the season; contrasting sleeves. Either the parts came in different colours, like brown and blue, or Jones had cleverly mixed fabrics like checks and stripes in one garment. Very effective. As always, the collection boasted some quality materials; kangaroo collars, crocodile blousons, shearling fleece and double-faced cashmere. But one of the more interesting sections was Jones' sudden sportswear jackets in reflective silver hi-tech fabrics and taped seams.
"Lopez went to the same school as Marc and has been a big influence on me for a long time"
To a soundtrack produced by "the pope of disco music", Giorgio Moroder, the models stomped down the catwalk in knits bearing Louis Vuitton's relatively new 'V' logo, before launching into the final nightlife section where a black shiny nylon parka and a midnight blue evening suit stood out. All in all, Jones delivered his tricky 'second album' collection, having already found a way to straddle Louis Vuitton's heritage for the needs of modern day men travelling the world.
Dazed Digital: So you've used illustrator Antonio Lopez as your main inspiration this season... can you tell us a bit more about him?
Kim Jones: He was an illustrator who worked a lot in Paris during the 70s, and moved on to work in Japan in the 80s. He went to the same school as Marc and has been a big influence on me for a long time. He had a very luxurious way of illustrating and I wanted to transform that onto clothing.
DD: Where did we see that on the catwalk?
Kim Jones: On the scarves, the big blanket coats, the volume and the reflective pieces. It's subtle but it's about using that as a starting point and then making it in to something very Vuitton.
DD: Where did the hi-tech sportswear fit in, quite different from the croc jackets and cashmere coats!
Kim Jones: I looked at the lines and the closed seams and made it fit in with the collection.
DD: I really liked the mixing of fabrics in the suits...
Kim Jones: Yeah, it's a very Japanese thing to do I think, so it was such details that made the show make sense.