In its latest collection, LOUIS VUITTON looks to the MANIFOLD STYLES that co-exist in New York City.
I am looking at the coin-sized hole in my favorite zip-up sweater. I’ve been wearing it forever and only recently noticed that it has seen better days. It’s not terrible, but not new. That fresh-out-of-the-box sheen has long disappeared after years of wearing it everywhere, throwing it on the back seats of cars, and crumpling it into a ball (it’s very soft). The wide blue stripe that runs across its chest has muted and the collar is now decorated with tiny nicks that I suspect is due to overzealous laundering. But the red is still vibrant, the ribbed collar and cuffs still has grip, and the zipper works. So I wear it.
Here’s how that hole happened: On one manic morning, I hurriedly put on the jacket, thrusting my arms through its thin sleeves. I heard the crackle of a rrripp. Half asleep, I ignored it. It would take a week before I noticed the hole, which was underneath the left sleeve, near the armpit crease. Unless I raise my arm, I figured no one would ever see it, so I continued to wear the magical garment that’s warm enough for the icebox temperatures of the office and light enough for a slow stroll on a sunny day. Besides, the old boy was the last thing my dad bought for me, before he decided that I was grown up enough to buy (and not ask for) things that I want.
What do you see when you look at clothes? Do you see them as the things you need to put on to shield the world from your naked and lumpy body? Do you use them as markers of time in the way that no-fun trousers are for weekdays and shorts are for Saturdays? Or do you ascribe a feeling to them, wearing a worn jacket with ferocious conviction (what hole?) because it just feels good?
Kim Jones, creative director of men’s wear
of Louis Vuitton, makes clothes that you’ll want to wear again and again. The itinerant designer has lead his audience all over the world, from the Atacama Desert to South Africa, the Himalayas to a “garden in hell” (the living room of Vogue editor Diana Vreeland) in order to create a giraffeprint shirt that’s not just a shirt ( he grew up in Africa) or a rope motif that’s not just decoration (it’s a tribute to his favorite designer). This time, he lands in New York City—but not the New York of now, but old New York, particularly the period between the ’70s and ’90s, or what Jones calls its “glory days,” when men like Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat mingled with one another.
In his ode to the manifold styles that co-existed in the great city, Jones underscores the idea of ease.
The woven leather, mohair, and wool of a thick sweater called attention. The raised Vs of its herringbone pattern invited a lot of pawing as if the piece was asking you to play hooky on a rainy morning. Elsewhere, a pajama shirt and pants, which were adorned with a collage taken from a 1930s LV ad material (a nod to the Art Deco revival in the ’70s), and the slightly large overcoat and roomy pleated pants (a reference to the ’80s) also spelled comfort.
Spun with downtown in mind, the roomy fit that has been simmering in seasons past is used to great effect here. It feels contemporary or street-smart (not too fashion or weird) when done with a baseball shirt covered with the house monogram and the Supreme box logo or painted in a palette of grays, tans, and blues.
The loose proportions also give the clothes newness. The shirt, the pants, the jacket—these have remained more or less the same for decades, but if you shrink or blow up, twist or elongate then the familiar is reborn as something fresh. Everything is loose and fluid, soft and slouchy, which just translates to an appearance of no obvious effort like that old red sweater that you reach for over and over again, because it makes you look and feel good.
Sometimes clothes are magic, sometimes they have meaning, sometimes they are just clothes—cool, easy, and beautiful but clothes nonetheless, and that’s just fine.
NICE THREADS Clowkwise, from below: a hybrid stadium jacket pays tribute New York style; Louis Vuitton’s fall 2017 men’s wear collection presented in Taipei; a pajama set uses a print from an old LV ad material; personalize your luggage and backpacks...
THIS WAY PLEASE Finally—and for the first time—Louis Vuitton’s ready-to-wear collection for men is now available in its new super-sized store in Solaire Resorts and Casino.