Nicolas Ghesquière.
Nicolas Ghesquière.
Image: Supplied

What is this collection about?

It could be a kind of teenage fantasy, a certain stylistic idea of adolescence. Sartorially speaking, adolescence is a time that’s free of conformity, comprised of mélange, dissonance, and resonance... A succession of collages that mix education, cultural references, idols, heroes and heroines, the desire to assert oneself, to forge a personality, to distinguish oneself, to discover and explore, with a deep desire for authenticity.

How do you transpose the idea of adolescence into a collection?

With tops and scarf-skirts that you leave as is or that you mix, depending on your mood. Chunky sweaters casually tied around the waist over rugby polos and slouchy pants ringed with flowers. An idea of uniforms, with kilts mixed with whatever you please, like teenagers outside a boarding school who reclaim fantasy and agency over what they wear. Oversized cardigans with silk trousers. Modesty and mille-feuille dresses in chiffon and tulle that give silhouettes a kinetic and fleeting, mirage-like effect. I would like people to sense that it’s a collection without constraint that’s focused on freedom of movement, ease, and total comfort, even though it involves very meticulous work in terms of materials and the hybridisation of clothing. As if the outfits were born fully formed, instinctively.

Please talk us through the materials.

There are lots of natural materials: knit, silk, cashmere. Among these is a double-faced cashmere sweater that recalls movers’ blankets, as well as a youthful desire to customise everything. There is lots of embroidery by Maison Lesage. Cloqué silks, lots of jacquard techniques, damask, and variations on tweed. As a common thread, there are printed or embroidered drawings of flowers inspired by the 19th century.

Image: Peter White/Getty Images

Where are the photos that we see in appliqué on certain outfits from?

Those images are by the photographer David Sims, from the beginning of his career, in the 1990s. I love them; they’re very pure and they speak to a certain idea of adolescence. These were applied and embroidered on floral jacquard polos. They could almost be the kind of T-shirts teenagers buy on their way home from a concert. Or like a teenager’s bedroom, with floral wallpaper plastered with posters of their idols.

Please describe the accessories.

The Petite Malle V handbag is a new Petite Malle style with a gusset. The famous Loop baguette bag has been revisited in an oversized version. The Cité is like a small reporter bag. Riding boots might be embellished with large, circular cut-outs. There are open-toed penny loafers, some covered in woven jacquard, and multi-strap sandals and jewellery that’s articulated or unhinged...

Image: Peter White/Getty Images
Image: Peter White/Getty Images

Why did you choose to show at the Musée d’Orsay?

This is the first time a fashion show has been held at the Musée d’Orsay and I am particularly happy to show this collection in the central hall, which was renovated by the architect Gae Aulenti, and the Courbet gallery, which I love — it’s one of my favourite places. Through its light, the colours, and an otherly aura, it is as if it were a temple beneath the glass roof of an old, 19th-century train station in Paris. Moreover, it was contemporaneous with Louis Vuitton, back when it was still the Palais d’Orsay, a building he must have admired many times as he delivered custom orders to Empress Eugénie in the Louvre, just opposite. That changes the vision one might have of a museum. It was daring for its time, and it became a neoclassical reference in architecture. The show is being staged without compromises, amid monumental paintings by Gustave Courbet. Further on, there are the Impressionists. They, too, caused a scandal in their day, because they broke with the conventions of academic art. They painted quickly, briskly, in the open air. The gestures live in the beauty of the moment. Today, their harmony is indisputable, which is why they’re known as the painters of happiness. It is a museum of sheer tenderness.

Image: Peter White/Getty Images
Image: Peter White/Getty Images

What celebrities are involved in the show?

Lous and the Yakuza closes the show, just as she did for the Spring/Summer 2021 collection at La Samaritaine. And the actress HoYeon Jung opens — since her appearance in Squid Game, she’s become a supernova. We’ve known each other for a long time, because she started out as a model. Louis Vuitton was one of the first runways she walked, and we’ve done several campaigns for the maison. It’s a great pleasure to continue together but in a different way. And then there’s the music: I’ve reconnected with an artist I admire who accompanied me in some of my past shows. Koudlam is back with a new album and is offering us a preview of two tracks.

 From the April edition of Wanted, 2022.

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