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Stairways to heaven: Jacobs' genius takes Louis Vuitton to another level


Marc Jacobs took his audience to a futuristic fashion paradise on the closing day of the Paris collections – or to the world's most heavenly departure lounge at least.

"You are the light of my life, my sun, moon and stars," whispered the mesmerising voiceover, taken from Samuel M Johnson's "Lovers On A Park Bench", written for the 1976 Philip Glass opera, Einstein on the Beach. The soporific Spaceship section of that score provided the soundtrack.

The other-worldly set, meanwhile – a high-shine, optic white and sunshine yellow chequerboard catwalk onto which models descended via four glowing escalators in marginally sinister, preternaturally synchronised pairs – was built in collaboration with the conceptual artist, Daniel Buren. It was magnificent.

The genius of the mise en scene was made all the more apparent by the clarity – and even purity – of the clothes that went with it and, it almost goes without saying, the glossy, pared-down accessories that remain the core business of the Louis Vuitton brand.

For the first time, there was not a monogram to be seen here on either bags, shoes or garments. Instead, the equally recognisable, though perhaps somewhat more rarefied, Damier motif (that chequerboard, in fact) appeared on boldly graphic designs embroidered with abstracted flowers, the voluptuous curves of which were the only thing that disrupted an otherwise entirely rectilinear silhouette.

Not that the couture workmanship that this name is also now known for failed to work its magic. It came discreetly, in the form of sequins so small they were barely visible to the naked eye. They shimmered in their thousands across liquid surfaces reflecting light.

Mr Jacobs is not the only designer interested in the reinvention of the work of the 1960s Space Age designers for the spring/summer season. He started it though, a month ago now, when he showed his signature collection in New York. It was in the French capital, with the might of Louis Vuitton behind him, surely among fashion's most powerful names, that he took this very singular vision to a higher level – the highest level imaginable.

It's small wonder that at the end of it all the designer skipped down the stairs happily to take his bows, dapper as always in white shirt and tuxedo. "Upstage that," the message rang out loud and clear. "If you dare."

Louis Vuitton, still the jewel in the LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) crown, was named most lucrative luxury label by consultancy Interbrand, which released its Best Global Brands list for 2012 to Women's Wear Daily yesterday.

In the list of 100 most valuable brands, it came 17th and was estimated to be worth $23.58 billion, up 2 per cent from the previous year. Coca-Cola was the highest-ranked brand, at $77.84 billion, followed by Apple at $76.57 billion.

No show after collection lost

Turkish designer Hakaan Yildirim has been forced to cancel his show at Paris Fashion Week after his entire collection mysteriously disappeared in transit. "The whole collection is lost," a spokeswoman said.

Such problems are extremely rare, though Marc Jacobs's 2012 spring/summer collection was stolen on the way to London in November 2011, causing Jacobs to cancel his presentation. AFP