London’s calling. After a few seasons of Kim Jones taking his Louis Vuitton luggage for a global trot, he brought it back home – and back to the time when the first Louis Vuitton store opened in London 130 years ago. The collection also went back to a time in Jones’s own memories when people went out too much, produced a lot and didn’t mind the consequences of making money. While looking at every sartorial facet about London, from Savile Row to the street, Jones honed in on The House of Beauty and Culture: a late 80s collective and shop in Dalston, promoting beautiful bricolage and anarchic feats of creation. One of its key designers was Christopher Nemeth, an unsung hero of British fashion, who made beautiful pieces based on a make-do-and-mend attitude. The main frayed rope motif was a key artwork of Nemeth’s – the ropes unravelled on everything, from sharp tailoring to casual sweatshirts. The show was in tribute to the artist, who passed away nearly five years ago, and in working very closely with the Nemeth family – this collection becomes part of their legacy. In addition, Jones has gathered up a crack House of Beauty and Culture team to set the scene – Judy Blame to do the accesssories, and photographer Mark Lebon who has made a film for Louis Vuitton. In short, it’s a bygone era of London’s fashion history that’s worth remembering.
Jones managed to find a key contemporary of Nemeth to do the soundtrack. As award winning producer Nellee Hooper concocted a mix featuring “Unfinished Symphony” by Massive Attack, Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life” and Neneh Cherry’s “Buffalo Stance”. Those were received with the clear approval of Kate Moss, as she bopped and sang along. They’re the sounds of a time that will remain forever fresh, and collectively sum up the spirit of Jones’s reference points. Nostalgia is useless unless we’re taken back to a time that has relevance today.
Tribute to a traveller:
Jones may have gone closer to home to look for inspiration, but his subject of tribute, Nemeth, moved to Tokyo in 1986. There, he was idolised by many for his uncompromisingly well-crafted and rebellious clothes. His label became more established in Japan than it did in his home country. The layering of Louis Vuitton bags – some featured an updated Damier print with checks of Nemeth’s rope artwork – on the catwalk was a nod to the Harajuku kids that would layer up different sized bags in one outfit. From London to Tokyo and back to Paris again, where this tribute collection was put together – this is a journey of inspiration that comes full circle, giving Nemeth the credit and spotlight he more than deserves.