Nicolas Ghesquière, the creative director of Louis Vuitton, stated that he had been considering South Korea as a suitable location for a while. The pre-fall show of the brand took place in Seoul on Saturday evening. Instead of choosing the more traditional and expected venues such as the city’s palatial gardens, Ghesquière decided to showcase his collection on Jamsugyo, which is a modest pedestrian path located below the Banpo Bridge where commuters cross between the city’s north and south banks. Jamsugyo is a submersible structure that disappears under the river during the summer monsoon. According to Ghesquière, the structure is a civil engineering marvel that creates the illusion of disappearance-reappearance. It is also considered a living monument by Seoulites, making it an inspiring place for staging a fashion show. Despite the frigid wind blowing in from the river, guests in attendance witnessed a show that blended the trappings of luxury with the grit of the street.
Unconventional Setting and Luxury Fashion Clash
During the hour leading up to the Louis Vuitton pre-fall show in Seoul, a sense of unease could be felt among the guests seated on the Jamsugyo pedestrian path beneath the Banpo Bridge. This was reminiscent of the unease felt in the horror film The Host, which Nicolas Ghesquière, the creative director of Louis Vuitton, has expressed fondness for in the past. In the absence of heat lamps and with a shortage of blankets, guests in their monogrammed leather attire began to hoard them in stacks, blending the trappings of luxury with the grit of the street, a characteristic often seen in Ghesquière’s designs.
House Codes And Squid Game Director’s Scenography
Louis Vuitton’s pre-fall show in Seoul featured Squid Game director Hwang Dong-Hyuk’s scenography, with amber light projections that resembled moving water. The atmosphere was enhanced by the distant sound of drums and whale calls, contributing to a sense of unease that was eventually dispelled by the high-energy opening song. Rather than relying on inauthentic nods to traditional Korean dress or other gimmicks, Ghesquière chose to focus on the house codes that he has been refining over the past decade. Ghesquière likened the show’s back-and-forth structure to the Jamsugyo bridge, with intersecting passages and a mix of moments.
Sporty, Strong, and Sparkling Pieces
The collection showcased hooded tops and bodysuits with an aerodynamic feel that hugged the frame closely, reminiscent of Irma Vep. The sporty elements blended well with the simple, strong colors and silhouettes that harked back to Ghesquière’s early days at the fashion house. Despite the current trend towards understated luxury, there were still touches of it in the collection, such as pinstripe and quilted leather suits, mod lambskin coats, and subtle versions of the LV logo in the form of a micro-monogram checkerboard print pant and a crepe wool bodysuit that plunges towards the navel, worn with a horsebit belt. The collection also included a hint of sparkle and flou, with the final pieces being elevated loungewear, such as a striped twill Mandarin collar shirt embroidered with glimmering crystal beads and tied with a swinging belt of metal monogram flowers.
A Diplomatic Journey to Showcase the Brand’s History
Ghesquière viewed the show as a journey of diplomacy, as Louis Vuitton travelled to South Korea to showcase various chapters of its history. The show was a conversation between Paris and Seoul, with Seoul’s position as a key player in the global luxury market resulting in a turf war amongst the big fashion houses. In a bid to elevate the pre-season into an extravagant destination that rivals resort collections, Louis Vuitton and other brands are hosting shows in unconventional locations. With the conclusion of the show marked by the fountains along the Banpo Bridge, which sent jets of water arching into the Han River as models walked by, Louis Vuitton’s claim to the luxury market was made quite clear.