Creatives, be it in literature, film, videogame or fashion space, have an impossible trove of inspiration in the trenches and plains of our oceans. Classic lit writers like Herman Melville (Moby Dick) and Ernest Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea) wax poetic on loneliness and the resolute man at sea. James Cameron hopes from movie success in pelagic setting, in the upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water. Videogame developers Unknown Worlds Entertainment breathe life into the Subnautica series’ sprawling underwater biomes for virtual exploration.
Especially, fashion finds beauty in the seas: Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2010 remains an iconic collection, Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen brings a technical, geometric approach to biology and Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi‘s gigantic ruffled organza dresses look just like coral and anemones. In Louis Vuitton latest SS2023 collection, Nicolas Ghesquiere plays with oversized hardware elements and a mastery in print-mixing that evoke a threatening beauty, and what is more threatening than the mystery of the ocean?
South Korean actress HoYeon Jung, of Netflix’s Squid Games, opens the show with puffed air bags – notable are the supersized zippers, luggage tags, excess panniers and exaggerated silhouettes throughout the collection. Like colossal squid and most of the cetacean genus, the deeper into the ocean we go, the more supersized entities can be. As if Ghesquiere is imitating nature’s evolutionary paroxysms with proportions, only his canvas can be found in the folds and frills of Vuitton womenswear.
There is a caricatured quality to many of the looks, reminding us of Jeremy Scott’s creations at Moschino. The mixing of colours, prints and textures seem impossibly styled – a magical pitchfork matching floral lace leggings against chiffon or ostrich-tinged baby dolls, a campy chateau handbag carried with dazzling elastic trousers, with dreamy tempered corduroy looking like brain coral. This collection doesn’t opt for subtlety.
Capricious as the industry may seems, Ghesquiere has his finger on the pulse of the Louis Vuitton customer – extra embellishment and a forward-thinking interest in fashion. The only pairings these garments would allow are sundries that swim the same maximalist waters – stylists will go mad for the spring/summer 2023 editorials.
The Louis Vuitton clientele may not be of the most accessibly financial tax bracket, but the brand’s aquatic SS2023 collection is a casual visit to coral reefs and ravines. Prints and colours suggest marine life, but luxuriate in Ghesquiere sensibilities – simplicity begone! Maybe the discerning consumer will sense the seabiomes, and turn a favourable eye instead to the preservation nature’s most bountiful treasure trove. We are due a new Plato’s Atlantis.
“Nicolas Ghesquiere Supersizes Reality at Louis Vuitton” by Kristen Bateman, for W Magazine
“Fashion Flashback: When Alexander McQueen Met The Internet” by Aria Darcella, for Fashionista
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