There was a massive shift back to a more classic Louis Vuitton at Marc Jacobs and chief designer Paul Helber’s Autumn Winter show today Thursday. And the audience seemed to like it, and why not? This – a formal, smart, slick and dark collection – is what LV does best. And why change a winning team? The previous collection looked towards New York’s bike messengers for inspiration, but this show was inspired by authors living in 20th century Vienna, and more specifically the likes of Franz Kafka and Egon Schiele. This wonderfully academic inspiration meant that an intellectual over coat matched each sporty nylon jacket we saw. But even the less organic fabrics had been treated with a more traditional array of detailing, such as felt, tweed or leather panelling.
The obligatory LV luggage came in a few monogrammed versions, but much nicer were the abstract prints that adorned a handful of bags and rucksacks (courtesy of artist Christian Schoeler), and no doubt a by product of Helbers’ interest in Vienna’s artist community. Brown – in a nice chocolate shade – and black were popular colours, together with grey and one little dose of neon yellow. Narrowly cut trousers were often tucked into boots, and more often than not were flat front ones without belt loops. We saw waterproof leather jackets in just every shape, form and length available to mankind.
Traditional and classic LV outfits dominated in a safe, but stunning, autumn collection. Once or twice did a younger and fresher look pop out, be it over sized shirts that were – stop the presses – not tucked into the trousers, or grey tracksuit bottoms. But Helbers and Jacobs nevertheless set the bar high for the rest of the designers on the Paris menswear schedule.
Dazed Digital: It was quite an intimate setting today, with little space between the audience and the catwalk!
Paul Helbers: I like that you get close to the models, it’s very critical. You have to see it close up to understand the clothes!
DD: Briefly, what inspired you this time around?
Paul Helbers: A 20th century Vienna artist and his wardrobe. They are prototypes for today’s lifestyle, which is all about blurring the boundaries between business and leisure, and making a combination of the two.
DD: It was fairly dark and moody – is that all to do with it being an A/W collection?
Paul Helbers: It’s got to do with the mood we were in. We’ve done a few seasons with colours, and we wanted a contrast for this one.
DD: Did I see clogs on the catwalk?
Paul Helbers: Yes you did! Austrian mountain clogs. Since it’s based around an artist’s wardrobe, I thought it’d be nice to have some free spirited shoes as well!
DD: Do you have a particular Franz Kafka book that you like?
Paul Helbers: Not really, we used quotes from several different ones, and they were incorporated into the music.
DD: What’s your favourite piece from this particular show?
Paul Helbers: A coat with satin sleeves with shearling body. It’s not sportswear, it’s not elegant – it’s a piece you can’t define.