back to life, back to reality: miu miu and louis vuitton
On the last day of the spring/summer 17 shows, Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu put the season in review.
Lurking in the wings this season, the American election and all it represents has cast a tense shadow over the spring/summer 17 shows as a constant reminder of the real world outside this fashion fantasy. So it was only appropriate that Miuccia Prada would end things on a typically subversive note in a Miu Miu show based, why, on a day at the beach. It was perky, girly, colourful fun — embellished pool sandals included — and the more of it you saw, the more you got her point. After her Prada show two weeks ago in Milan, the designer talked about the simple life as the new ideal: scaling things down to a core of elegance in a mad, Trump-tastic world that can't quite believe the doom and gloom in which it suddenly finds itself. With its 50s undertones, her Miu Miu show reflected a similar sentiment — the forced Stepford Wives idyll of an insecure society on the brink of change.
Backstage she referenced global warming as one of those menacing issues facing the planet — and indeed its beaches — and you couldn't help but think of the madness in the fact that one of those presidential candidates currently competing to rule the world doesn't actually believe in global warming. Of course, the girl who'll end up buying this Miu Miu collection won't think of lurking doom, new presidents, or the environment — fashion knows that. But in her constant reflections on the social and political mood, Prada's effect on the way we dress and look plays a huge role in how we'll see this moment in time looking back on it in years to come, much like we do the 50s with the decade's picture-perfect housewives, cartoonish skirts, and nipped-in waists. All was not as it seemed.
At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière devoted his collection to Paris and its two personalities, separated by the Seine. His show took place in the Place Vendôme building the house is currently turning into its new store, and in a Paris season that hasn't really dealt with the horrors this city has been through over the past year — perhaps seeking a little escapism — it was nice to end the spring/summer 17 collections on a tribute to the fashion capital. Ghesquière picked up the glamorous 80s revival that's been a theme here in Paris — Balenciaga, Balmain, Saint Laurent — and worked his futuristic point of departure into shoulder pads, metallics, and some fierce and fancy asymmetric cuts that would have made an 80s' Jane Fonda power-dresser swoon. The Louis Vuitton collection fused the chic elegance of the posh Left Bank with the nonchalant sexiness embodied by so many French women in Paris, and served as a reminder to us all that this city is the beating heart of fashion.
Text Anders Christian Madsen