Walking to the Vuitton show, ticket in hand. A piece of paper shaped like a luggage tag with a string of leather woven through and a key on the end. We’re going on a journey, but where?!
Everyone’s running into the venue. Heeled shoes scamper across the wet gravel, probably belonging to editors who’ve missed the precisely on time show in the past. Inside, Sarah Jessica Parker’s already taken her seat in white lace dress and pumps from Vuitton’s spring collection.
The lights are still on inside Gare de Louis Vuitton. With a giant clock, wrought iron ceilings and a soundtrack of whistles, engines and chatter, we’re surely inside a train station. The middle of the stage is covered with thin black fabric and porters stand guard around its perimeter. Espresso’s passed round in proper white cups and everyone wonders how Marc Jacobs will possibly top last spring’s carousel.
The lights go down and the gates open. A cloud of smoke breaks through, an engine sounds and an actual train, painted purple with the Vuitton logo and a proper conductor blowing a diamond whistle, pulls onto the runway. Before I can stop myself I yell out, “It’s like fashion Disneyland!” But it’s OK, because everyone is cheering and squealing with excitement. (See the video, after the jump!)
There are notes of Downton Abbey in the music, and the first model emerges from the romantically lit train followed by a porter trailing close behind, carrying two travel bags in one hand and a ladylike purse in the other.
The lengthened silhouette is similar to Marc Jacobs’ eponymous collection, with tall hats and sharp coats layered over stiff dresses and cigarette pants. Nearly everything sparkles, whether from lurex or jewels sewn on in mosaic-like patterns or tinsel actually woven into the tweed. “There is a humble, homespun appreciation of the applied arts in the naive complexity of textures and techniques,” Jo-Ann Furniss writes in the show notes.
Since each girl gets her own porter, and each porter carries at least two bags, this must be the largest number of bags ever shown on the runway. Materials used for fall include crocodile, calf, goat, pony, ostrich, mink, seal and kangaroo, from which Jacobs’ accessories team whipped up hat boxes, weekend bags, vanity cases, valises, and decadent evening bags. As Furniss writes, they’re “joyfully vulgar.”
The models take one last turn around the train without their porters—”merely added accessories”—before Jacobs pops out to wave hello wearing a trim black t-shirt dress. If only he’d sat in the conductor’s seat.