Louis Vuitton Menswear Show Spring Summer 2018

Kim Jones could have been lazy after the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration. He could have thought, ‘I’m going to chill for the next show. I’m going to make spring summer 2018 menswear simple so I can enjoy some respite from my 16 collections a year’. But he didn’t, he went one better and in doing so put the internet into meltdown.

The genius part was that this Grand Palais show was set to a Drake soundtrack – no wonder then that this brand new single (‘Signs’) pinged around social media like a ball bearing explosion with the all important LV hashtag. That was the easy part.

The clothes had an energy about them that has become synonymous with the way that Kim Jones operates. No other designer has managed to take a single theme – in this case travel – and dissect it with quite the same relish as Jones has done throughout his tenure at Louis Vuitton menswear. Like a scientist or even a perfumer, he’s managed to extract the essence of travel and play with it as he pleases, without ever losing the core values of the Parisian brand which started life as a luxury luggage company.

Here the idea was ‘island hopping’ which apparently came to Jones after a friend gave him a book called ‘Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will’. The irony was that Jones HAD been to almost all of these islands, and so was able to create a wardrobe based at once around fantasy and practicality.

Hawaiian ‘Aloha’ shirts and scuba style featured heavily, only as luxurious hybrids. Floral, semi-sheer shirts shimmered and bomber jackets that riffed off diving wear looked as silky as seal skin. At one stage a Hawaiian-style shirt went by bearing a reworked Louis Vuitton typeface across the chest, in the manner of a Quicksilver logo from the 90s.

As well as surf and windsurfing, climbing, trekking, hiking were also part of the picture with loose stripe shirts and relaxed trousers providing a sharp contrast to tight, body sculpting silhouettes. The show notes mention that “as the garments move, even the print appears to ‘travel’ around the body”, – which is a little florid if you ask us but the looks certainly had a certain flow to them that compounded the travel feel.

This is largely down to how Jones uses silk, organza and even slippery buttery leather to create strong forms as opposed to flighty and soft constructs. A case in point was a layered look that riffed off a wind breaker jacket and matching weatherproof trousers worn with a soft leather trench. A layered look that could have appeared either too light or too heavy, but it was the perfect balance.

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Bag and luggage wise, Jones said it with colour. the Monogram Split, came in a variety of colourways from silver and black to turquoise and blue. Backpacks with bright centre seems and multicoloured ‘passport’ cross-body pochettes emphasised the idea of island hopping or freedom of movement – a politically pertinent theme if ever there was one.

If anything Jones has made his life harder with this collection: what on earth will he come up with next?

Ps. Did anyone else think that the opening 30 seconds to Drake’s track sounded like  I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) by Daryll Hall & John Oates? No bad thing.