Nicolas Ghesquière has the one quality that separates a truly great fashion designer from all the thousands of others who work in the industry. It is this: The great ones can reach into our minds and tell us what we want. They’re the ones who will ease our worries and clarify our confusions and raise our spirits. They’re the psychotherapists, the sociologists of fashion who can make our blood fizz with the sensation of how enjoyable it is be female, and alive now.
Every tiny facet of the way Ghesquière’s Louis Vuitton collection was put together made you feel like this—from the way the white shearling coats were finely combed into deep-pile puffballs, to the tiny chain belts, to the ribbed knits with their wavy fluted edges, to the embroidered lace leg-o-mutton-sleeved tops, to the A-line miniskirts with their subtle kinky zip-and-buckle fastenings. It was in the glint of crystal embedded in an animal-spot dress. It was in the perfect tailoring of a plain pantsuit. It was in the way slip dresses were implanted with sporty panels, and came out looking like nothing anyone’s made before.
“I think everything I did before was getting me ready for this,” Ghesquière said backstage. “It’s innovation and tradition, with a hint of technology—treating classical fabrics in a technical way.” What Ghesquière did before, of course, was spend many years working at Balenciaga, a career that took him, step-by-step, from behind the scenes to being a major mover of the aughts. In those days, he projected his fascination with sci-fi and merged it with couture values in high-drama, tightly edited shows. But these are different days, the theater of fashion has all but been disbanded, and Ghesquière has his antennae tuned into picking up and defining what we want now.
The answer is variety, individuality, simplicity, beauty, practicality, mouth-watering deliciousness—a whole set of demands only the great designers can manage to articulate, all in one collection. And Nicolas Ghesquière did this for fall, with a super-desirable inventory of bags and low-heeled booties in the bargain. Women left his show feeling the calmness and elation of having seen something everyone can relate to. If there’s a definition of modernity, that surely must be it.