While his contemporaries were mining the late '90s and early 2000s to find inspiration for their spring 2022 collections, Nicolas Ghesquière was looking centuries further back in time for Louis Vuitton's.
The designer is well known for his ability to cherry-pick elements from bygone, often disparate, fashion eras to create something that feels new, and his latest offering was no exception. Tuesday night's show at the Louvre had something of an orchestral theme: The brand posted images of new handbag styles posed next to classical instruments to tease the event, where models were played out by dramatic crescendos — made even more dramatic by the massive chandeliers hanging over their heads. In a press statement, the house described the collection as "an invitation to le grand bal of Time," declaring: "Tonight, time is of no consequence. Yet time is everything. It dissolves functions and codes. It unites wardrobes. Day becomes night. The humble uniform becomes sumptuous."
There's an Elizabethan opulence to much of the collection, seen in skirts with wide, exaggerated hips, many of them featuring billowing layers of fabric or adorned with lace or embroidery. Elsewhere, several looks feature riffs on collars from the era. For lightweight spring outerwear, there are slouchy, oversized takes on traditional men's tailcoats, as well as several capes and ponchos, many of them beaded or ruffled. Balancing out the collection's more ornate or historical skirts, dresses, jackets and tops are more casual, modern pieces, like classic dark-wash (and high-waisted!) denim and a range of crisp, solid chino-like skirts, trousers and culottes.
The opulence was also tempered by a runway protester (an increasingly common fashion-week occurrence) carrying a banner that read, "Overconsumption = Extinction." According to Nylon, she crashed the show on behalf of several environmental activist groups, including Extinction Rebellion.
Speaking of consumption, the collection's accessories are sure to be the hot-ticket items, from the new trunk-inspired top-handle monogram bag to the statement-making sunglasses that straddle the line between eyewear and full-on mask. It'll be interesting to see how shoppers respond to the shoes, though: Ghesquière made a case for the return of hybrid footwear, placing cutouts around the toes of ankle-hugging booties.
See the full Louis Vuitton Spring 2022 collection in the gallery below.