Louis Vuitton's hero accessories from SS18 take us back several hundred years

Louis Vuitton's hero accessories from SS18 take us back several hundred years

Medieval musings

Text: Andrea Sim

A brushstroke in Nicolas Ghesquière's query of our concept of time

Fashion's habit of sampling the past to mould its future is nothing new, but what has specifically intrigued Louis Vuitton's Nicolas Ghesquière in the recent is anachronism: the old existing in modernity; the clash of times in all its stark, contrasting beauty. Or so says the press release. It makes enough sense though, given spring/summer 2018's show theatrics — for maximum effect and impact — whisking showgoers underground of the Louvre to a part of the museum that dates back to 1190AD, flanked by a moat. The achingly regal jackets, coats and vests, paired with futuristic Archlight sneakers... all measured pieces of the puzzle.

But wasn't it just a few seasons ago that Ghesquière's obsession was with the future? Shacking up at the postmodern Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in cruise 2017 for example. And erecting a digital backdrop in SS16 for sakes of the virtual being a prefix to reality. As it turns out, the above is but the formative seasons to his core thesis, revealed in FW18 — that timelines (what we know as past, present and future) could very well be concurrent. Imagine: the possibility of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra's rumoured dalliance, BC, taking place right now on another plane, as North and South Korea report recent amicable developments in 2018. How very Sheldon Cooper of him. And, spring/summer 2018 is none other than the second to last piece of the puzzle for Ghesquière's deep-thinking. 

It takes shape in a time worn bag of the house, the Chantilly, returning refurbished. A shiny, new lock dangles front and centre, and on the runway, a gold chain replaces its leather shoulder strap. The never ending well of inspiration that is Vuitton's travel trunks spawned top handle cum shoulder bag, the City Malle, complete with old school lock, chain and key. A physician's bag of yore, with its signature rounded sides and clasp opening, births the Speedy Doctor in staid black but also a modern beige with power pink undertones. The Square Bag takes its cue from the vintage vanity case, perfected by Ghesquière for SS18 with an intentional "imperfect" concave on one side; a contemporary flair. The Petite Malle, practically a microcosm of the heritage house's relevance in modern times, is rendered with a heavy set metal frame bordering olden brocade. 

So while we're pretty sure that the answer to Ghesquière's question of whether we are currently living in the past, present or future — and, if our concept of time as we know it is entirely warped — is not to be found in any of the Vuitton SS18 bags, we have here a man who dares to explore and dream. And that, should be more than enough to satiate the curious souls out there.

Available at Louis Vuitton boutiques.