While some brands reminisced and imagined travel to distant destinations this Paris Fashion Week, Louis Vuitton‘s Fall/Winter 2021 takes us on a journey into the past, all the way back to the Age of Enlightenment. But with Nicolas Ghesquière as our time-travelling guide, past and present and everything in between are apt to collide. This aesthetic is befittingly shared by Italian design studio Fornasetti, with which Ghesquière has collaborated with for the ready-to-wear collection and an accessories capsule collection.
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Fornasetti’s plates, ornate candle pots and other interior decor—printed with their signature illustrations inspired by Roman sculpture and ancient architecture—are ubiquitously known the world over. But it is Piero Fornasetti’s propensity to intersperse antiquity with incongruous elements to whimsical effect. Designs were selected from Fornasetti’s 13,000 piece archive in Milan, and appear in graphic print on oversized fleece jackets, intarsia knits and in tessellated patterns on tabard dresses, complete with ‘pteruges’ like skirts, that made models look like futuristic Roman centurions.
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Other vestiges of antiquity are also reimagined, like the gladiator boots complete with a surprising bowtie—a very Fornasetti touch, and the fine beading on dresses that echoed Greco-Roman patterns, sometimes deliberately left unfinished, as if they were themselves archaeological finds.
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The venue was another tribute to the Golden Age, set in the Michelangelo and Daru Galleries of the Louvre, where the world’s most iconic Greek and Roman sculptures are housed. The classical setting is counter played by a more modern reference: the backing track of the runway seemed to be a recording from Daft Punk’s monumental live performance at Coachella (the stage of which also featured a pyramid, mirroring the one at the Louvre). The duo had just announced their split last month.