Nicholas Ghesquière reminisces the Belle Epoque era with Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer ’20 show
Recalling European dandyism
Louis Vuitton’s Spring-Summer 2020 collection showcased a distinguished moment in European fashion history. It was inspired by the pre-First World War era as Nicholas Ghesquière revisits the European dandy, encapsulating slow pace but heightened drama of the Belle Époque era with romantic silhouettes.
“It was a period with a great deal of change and enthusiasm,” says Ghesquière. The collection featured dandy suits in mismatched prints, sparkling sweater vests paired with voluminous, tiered miniskirts in bright shades of purple and red against khakis and creams. Exaggerated shoulders and puffed sleeves also find their big moment.
The show began with the VHS bag followed by the new Blade bag, which was kept as a classic. The Dauphine bag was revisited in shapes that echo the Belle Époque era. While the strategic layering and the abundance of prints cannot go amiss, the Cattleya orchid brooches pinned to the lapel were a recurring detail. Reinvented moccasins with bright patches were stacked on cylindrical block heels which was a welcome sight. “The brooches, flowers, Cattleya orchids with incredible colours are a nod to this romantic period,” shares the designer.
The VHS bag
The Dauphine bag
The Cattleya orchid brooch
Ghesquière channels the 20th-century Parisian energy with puffy sleeves under shimmering chevron vests and three-piece suits in vivacious colours. The dresses were a nod to Baudelaire’s observation of the flâneur strolling down the streets of Paris; the elaborate flowers on them were an ode to simpler, slower lives. The inspiration and the reference points were clear for Ghesquière: “We evoked Sarah Bernhardt, the great French actor who embodied the extreme wealth of that era alone. She was provocative, extravagant, passionate, and intrinsically theatrical!”
Louis Vuitton’s set for the Spring/ Summer ’20 show was minimal in its aesthetic and its footprint. It was made using wood from sustainably-managed forests in France. The wood was then reclaimed by the ArtStock association. English singer Sophie’s rendition of ‘It’s Okay to Cry’, made especially for LV, serenaded the audience as the background screen lit up with her face.