Louis Vuitton’s FW 2021 collection, created in collaboration with legendary Milanese design atelier Fornasetti, was unveiled at the spectacular Michelangelo and Daru Galleries at the Louvre in Paris to an empty hallowing to restrictive Covid protocols. The under-construction gallery worked as a perfect backdrop for the collection designed by the House’s artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière who dipped into Fornasetti’s formidable 13000-piece archive for inspiration. Given that the collaboration was imagined as a border-bending voyage, it’s only fitting that models sashayed through Greek, Etruscan and Roman sculptures to the beat of Daft Punk’s Around the World to showcase a line made for the woman of the world (even if she may be confined to her couch right now).
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Delivering on qualities we’ve now come to expect from Nicolas’s distinctive retro-futuristic take on the luxury brand, the collection combined high-tech finishes with colliding colours and textures in a manner we’ve never seen before. The designer’s daring and innovative styling makes the luxe truly accessible and current. It is a clash of the Titans, really, with bubble tulle skirts teamed with deconstructed blazers with a bright Fornasetti printed dress peeking through. Cocoon jackets (because we are still craving safety), parkas with feminine skirts, and then a sudden flash of glitter and a shot of shiny red. A statement studded collar peeks out of a grey jacket elevating the whole look. Then there is the Grecian fashion inspiration but interpreted in an unexpected sort of way. Think medieval-inspired velvet dresses that look like chic armour or a shiny Fornasetti print jersey laden with thermal camera imagery. The pieces are finished with accents of innovative jacquard, sharp laser cuts and delicate embroideries. It is fashion for the woman looking to imagine her own future. Gladiator sandals meshed onto metallic boots offer a brilliantly fresh take, while a multi-pocket utilitarian bag flaunts a classic Fornasetti print. This one is for the ages. Like a conductor of music Nicolas managed to expertly bring together disparate elements such as futurism, tailoring, femininity, luxury and comfort.
“Exploring the Fornasetti archives had the excitement of an archaeological dig, searching for and finding drawings from the past to give them a new life for Louis Vuitton —for now and the future,” Nicolas says of his experience with picking up references and motifs for the new collection in collaborative dialogue with Barnaba Fornasetti. The wider accessories line which is yet to be launched draws heavily from Fornasetti’s iconic hand-drawn imagery that has enchanted art lovers since Piero founded his atelier in 1940. The most well-known among these is the iconic architectural motif that has been used liberally through the collection. Other classic Fornasetti motifs such as locks, keys and ancient portraits, also find application. “Fornasetti’s enduring body of work is the realisation of a remarkable hand-drawn technique and magical take on the world, and I am particularly drawn to the way Fornasetti re-explored and reworked the heritage of classicism and Ancient Rome, adding new references to historical imagery,” Nicolas adds.
In all the collaboration brings together the best of two experimental visionaries—one from the past and the other from the present, co-creating an exciting future together.
Photographs: Giovanni Gianonni; Alessandro Garofalo
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