The Belle Époque was considered the last Golden Age of Europe before the World Wars. And golden it was. French for ‘Beautiful Epoch’, the period from 1871 to 1914 saw peace, prosperity, optimism and the flourishing arts, especially in Paris, France. From literature and visual art to theatre and music, it was a time in Paris like no other. And for Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, the time traveller that he is, this era was his muse for the House’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection.
But stepping in the past wasn’t enough. The Spring/Summer 2020 show, that took place on the first of October, saw a collection that merged the Art Nouveau style from the Époque with the contemporary 21st century style that Ghesquière is known for. Art Nouveau is characterised by heavy ornamentation, geometry, and taking inspiration from natural elements like foliage. This is probably why every model that walked down the runway wore a cattleya orchid on their lapel, described by the brand as “the chimerical symbol of ultimate refinement.”The show itself accentuated the futuristic feel of the collection, held in the Cour Carrée; one of the main courtyards of the Louvre. The runway was set in front of a colossal screen featuring Scottish artist Sophie performing an extended version of her 2017 track It’s Okay to Cry, specially remastered for Louis Vuitton. This was done with the help of the brand’s frequent collaborator, French music video director Woodkid, keeping in mind the importance of music in every Louis Vuitton show.
Set of the Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2020
A door at the base of the screen opened, delivering a line of models – many of which androgynous, with Ghesquière involving the concept of gender fluidity in designs and models for many seasons – dressed in a melange of jackets, three-piece suits, minidresses, sweater vests, wide-legged pants, and miniskirts. Not shying away from volume; ruffled, multi-tiered pieces, puffed sleeves and exaggerated sleeves were seen in abundance. Tantalising to the eye, mismatched prints and colours took centre stage. In an otherwise effervescent collection, a share of solid colours thrown in the mix went in tandem with the trend of minimalism seen this season.
Ghesquière, known for featuring some fun stylistic Easter eggs, included a rather explicit contrast between the eras; a rectangular bag shaped like a VHS tape. Other bags in tote or Speedy styles also featured in the classic LV monogram. Closing the Paris Fashion Week this season, the Louis Vuitton show saw Ghesquière receiving a standing ovation from a crowd studded with stars. In attendance were actors Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Connelly, Jessica Biel, Catherine Deneuve, Chloë Grace Moretz, Justin Theroux, Ruth Negga, Laura Harrier, Indya Moore, Cody Fern, musicians Justin Timberlake, Mark Ronson, G.E.M. and YouTuber Emma Chamberlain, amongst others. Take a look below:
Helene Arnault, Frank Gehry, Bernard Arnault, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Delphine Arnault