Thursday January 19, 2012 – Serre du parc Andre Citroen 

A dialogue between the great cities of Paris and Tokyo, their mythologies and fashion languages, are at the heart of this season’s mensweor collection for Louis Vuitton. Each is explored through their contemporary influence on Louis Vuitton’s Men’s Studio and Style Director, Kim jones, working under the Artistic Direction of Marc Jacobs, all the while seen through their impression on the legendary American fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez in the seventies and eighties.

“I was looking at the impact of and on French fashion of people from the outside, particularly the idea of an American in Paris,” explains Kim Jones.“This led to thinking about the influence of Japan on France as well, that cross-fertilization that has occurred from the nineteenth century onwards, the notion of “Japonisme”, something that Louis Vuitton has been part of from early in the company’s history.

In point of fact this is something that can even be seen in the Louis Vuitton Monogram, which has a debt to japanese graphics in its stylized Monogram flowers.

“I was interested in the great impact of Japanese design on Paris in the eighties, of how modern global fashion began to unfold and its impact today,” continues Kim jones. “I love Japan, I love Tokyo – it is a place of constant inspiration – and I saw that famous illustrator Antonio Lopez had that appreciation for the two cities, he had that global view as well.”

“Paris was a crossroads in the seventies of people coming from all over, rich and poor, it was a time when people came together and converged that he documented,” says Kim jones. “Antonio Lopez was also one of the first Western fashion people to make strong links to Japan, who worked there and was widely exhibited there in the eighties. I particularly admire his drawings of men from these periods, his heroic vision of men, these “City Warriors”, who could come from anywhere in the world. There was a quality and taste level to what he did that embodied luxury and he clearly understood it.”

In so keeping, this season sees a focus on the bold, graphic line and silhouette of the clothing. From the sinuous line of the seventies, to the pumped up silhouette of the eighties, from exquisite, tailoring traditions to meticulously researched technical sportswear, all is made completely contemporary. There is a mix and match attitude to all and a notion of the Western converging with the Eastern subtly in fabric, shape, technique, silhouette and style. In so keeping the colours are a muted palette of greys, dark blues, blacks, burgundy, camel and the graphic flash of reflective materials.

The notion of the Louis Vuitton bag is a key element throughout the entire collection and roots the overall approach to a sense of the Louis Vuitton legacy in global travel. “Nomade” leather is predominant in the collection and it appears not iust in the Steamer and Doctor bags but also in belts and as edging on berets. Grained “Epi” leather is made supple by the use of calf and is a sensuous addition. “Brocard”, inspired by Truman Capote luggage in brocaded fabric, features similar reflective fabric to be found in the blankets and scarves in the signature rope design this season. The compact “portfolio” bag is made intensely luxurious in crocodile and lizard and yet can also function in day-today usage.

The cities of Paris and Tokyo are also echoed in the accessories and make a punctuating appearance on belts. The Lopez signature arrow frequently reoccurs as embellishment both as a pin and as an earring. As does the beret and the feather. Louis Vuitton blankets, shawls, scarves and ties all employ graphic shapes, signs and symbols, another nod to Lopez.