Plenty of American fashion and footwear brands are gearing up for the 2020 presidential election with gear that conveys the simple, direct message of the season: Go vote.
But Louis Vuitton’s spring ’21 collection proved that even international brands are jumping on the PSA now. At the French luxury house’s show closing out Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday, the runway concluded with a look that sent the simple four-letter message, with a “Vote” tee tucked into a pair of oversized khakis, a pair black leather brogues on foot.
For those familiar with the relationship of parent company LVMH, U.S. President Donald Trump and Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, the t-shirt was not a surprise.
The message was not the only one conveyed in the collection, and the past, present and future of virtual reality seemed more of a top line theme. A clear ’80s vibe once again influenced everything from the late ’80s large-shouldered overcoats to the mid-’80s silhouettes, right down to the retro prints, which were equal parts MTV graffiti, video game graphics and advertisement fonts from the decade. They spelled out the “Vote” message but also words like “Drive” and “Skate” (’80s kids might hear them uttered internally in the robotic voice of the Speak & Spell). The graphic prints read like pizza parlor video arcades and brought to mind classic games like Pac-Man and Mario Bros.
The graphics and color palette extended down to the feet, with sporty brogues and padded monogram logo boots, done in the style of a vintage puffer vest (think Marty McFly) or those sleeping bag slippers that Eddie Bauer first made popular in their catalog offerings way back when.
Other footwear standouts included a series of cartoonish pumps and Mary Janes with a curved and hidden platform, styles that are sure to be street style standouts when fashion month wishfully convenes next.
The throwback, virtually-outfitted collection looked even better set against the show’s fully immersive setting, which occurred at La Samaritaine, a Paris department store with Art Deco and Art Nouveau details that is set to reopen in 2021. It was there — not Vuitton’s usual Louvre splendor — that Ghesquière and co. staged a virtual-reality-in-real-life runway that was as much a fascination on screen as it was in a physical seat.
With multiple floors, moving escalators and multiple LED screens broadcasting abstract film images, it was impossible to distinguish the physical experience from the virtual one. After a season of fast-forwarding through runways, it was a captivating sight.