As forward-thinking as the fashion industry is, it could use a nudge in several areas. On the current docket: diversity, accessibility, and sustainability. Paris Fashion Week, to our chagrin but no one's shock, chooses not to adhere to most of those principles. But at Louis Vuitton's AW18 show, at least we caught a glimpse of another pillar of futuristic fashion: practicality. There's a lot of pressure to design for working, powerful women right now, and Nicolas Ghesquière culled from those exact motifs — but relevance, in terms of staying on trend regardless of what’s appropriate and for where, remains integral to the Vuitton woman.
At The Louvre, models walked down a catwalk that resembled the exterior of a spaceship, but the clothes stayed firmly on the ground, heavily leaning into the cinematic ideal of the desert. Think less Wild Thoughts and more herding cattle and dodging tumbleweeds on your way to the saloon. There was ascots, fringing, shearling, and leather, all of which somehow managed to avoid clashing with the more feminine aspects of tried-and-true womenswear present throughout, like ruffles, peplums, deep V-necks, and Mary Jane heels. Those fans who consider Westworld an eerie prediction of what's to come will rejoice in the notion that Ghesquière, too, is most likely a fan.
If you thought the latest offering felt zestless — in terms of flashy, street-style approved fashion — you're not wrong. You could also say that we've already seen a lot of what walked down the runway. But there were a lot of upgrades to grab-and-go wardrobe staples, too, which should make for a selection of more wearable clothing that both looks and is expensive come next season. For one of the oldest, most luxurious brands that can essentially do no wrong — especially outside of America, where Vuitton is bought more for what it stands for than what the clothes actually look like — that most likely won't matter. Because to the industry, looks are (still) everything.
In the slideshow ahead, Louis Vuitton's AW18 collection reflects a mood that's appropriate for the workplace and will no doubt fly off rails — but we’re already looking to next season, ready to see what comes after. Because as aware as designers have become of what women want to wear, the fantasy aspect of fashion can’t be lost in the reality of it.