by Alex R. Travers
The South American Atacama Desert—the driest place in the world—was the inspiration for the swirl of colors that splattered the set at Thursday’s men’s wear show for Louis Vuitton. Kim Jones, the brand’s men’s wear style director, admitted he was fascinated by the landscape. And while it was a risky destination for him to visit, the trip proved worthwhile. Once the designer arrived, he hunkered down rock-steady and observed. Jones’ subjects ranged from NASA World Wind photographs of Atacama to the indigenous animals of Chile and Peru, most notably the alpacas and vicuñas. And like the best collections often are, Jones’ focus was intensely personal.
Yesterday’s show had a rhythm of its own. It opened with striped double-faced cashmere coats and draped scarves. The stripes were a nod to traditional South American dresses, and the scarves—almost blanket-size—were woven from alpaca and wool. Jones also outfitted his models with hiking boots and mirrored sunglasses that reflected an otherworldly blue light.
As for luxury…scratch that…pure unadulterated luxury, there were sweaters and blousons in vicuña, the finest wool in the world. During the time of the Incas, it was believed that the vicuña was a reincarnation of a beautiful young maiden who received a coat of pure gold. (For those fortunate enough, Vuitton’s made-to-measure department will make you a suit out of the stuff.) Jones also updated the brand’s famous Damier pattern in an icy-cool cobalt blue, which is available for purchase online. “Accessories are about having fun,” he said. “It’s about creating something to go with the outfit.”