Creative partnerships in fashion come and go. Some are tremendously short-lived, whereas others last so long that the two members of the partnership become almost impossible to separate (imagine, for example, Chanel without Karl Lagerfeld.) The collaboration between Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton is, for me at least, one of the finest examples of the latter category. Since being appointed Creative Director of Louis Vuitton in 1997, the New York designer has helped catapult the luxury house into the mainstream and produced some of its finest moments. So, it is with great sadness that I read the news that Jacobs would be leaving the company to focus completely on his own line.
Jacobs made this news crystal clear in his bittersweet S/S 2014 collection for Vuitton – a presentation so beautiful yet so melancholic that I actually cried (only a bit, I promise). The set comprised of set pieces from some of his greatest collections for the house covered – from S/S 2012’s glorious carousel through to A/W 13’s hotel corridors and S/S 13’s escalators, the set itself served as a retrospective of Jacobs’ finest moments. By way of farewell, the entire show was covered from top-to-toe in black paint, more befitting of a showgirl’s funeral than a runway show. The mood was sombre, the audience was silent and, as usual, the clothes were stunning.
Opening the show was McQueen campaign girl and model du jour Edie Campbell, dressed only in black knickers, body paint and a feather headdress – the words ‘Louis Vuitton Paris’ were scrawled across the entirety of her exposed body, her hands bound in handcuffs and black chains. As an opening look, it was a powerful statement. The show continued in the same vein, an explosion of jet-black feathers, glistening embellishment and heavy chains. Surprisingly, denim made a few appearances on the runway – something which is becoming somewhat of a trend ever since the house of Margiela reimagined the American ‘blue jean’ in electric latex with their Artisanal Fall 2013 collection. Jacob’s interpretation was more traditional – classic blue jeans rolled-up at the ankle and decorated with swatches of black chiffon.