Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

If last season was Ghequiere in revolutionary mode, this time it felt evolutionary

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Indy Lifestyle Online

For his spring/summer 2015 Louis Vuitton show - the opening presentation on the final day of not just Paris, but the entire season - Nicolas Ghesquiere schlepped his audience to the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the new, Frank Gehry devised space dedicated to art and creation that has landed in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne.

The building resembles a cross between a giant cracked-open fortune cookie and the Starship enterprise. Fitting, as that's kind of what a Vuitton collection is about. At least, under Ghesquiere, a designer fixated with ceaselessly driving his fashion into the future fantastic.

This time, his show opened with living video murals of enormous heads intoning an odd, slightly stilted monologue. We got a few facts about the building - 3,600 glass panels, 15,000 tonnes of concrete - which we eagerly scribbled down as if they would mean something.

"The LV house," we were told, "wants to explore the ability to travel to any part of the universe without moving."

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The spring/summer 2015 Louis Vuitton show for Paris Fashion Week

That just struck you as a bit of sci-fi posturing, setting the scene for Ghesquiere plastic fantastic journey simultaneously backwards and forwards. That paradox made sense when you saw it.

Forwards were the fabrics - multi-textured knits hanging around the body, fashioned into multiple panels with a synthetic sheen. Elsewhere, eelskin was patched together in glossy, graphic bands, sickly looking rather than precious.

Occasionally they resembled Op Art paintings, or especially intricate Modernist marquetry in glossy shades of brown. Riffing on the art reference of the space, Ghesquiere's trunk-shaped minaudiere, the petite Malle, was reworked in squigdgy leather, like a Claes Oldenberg sculpture.

If the textile treatments were futuristic, the shapes of the clothes harked back to the space race of the sixties and seventies - the brief, babydoll dresses, kick-flares in crushed velvet hugging the hips, the high, bulky heels of multi-textured ankle boots faceted like iron girders.

They also recalled Ghesquiere's opening gambit for the house, especially in the continuing brevity of the silhouette, injected with some of the fluidity he showed for pre-spring in Monte Carlo.

Just like those putty-soft Petite Malles, the whole thing seemed to melt and morph a little around the body. These clothes occasionally had an arresting, ectoplasmic quality.

If last season was Ghequiere in revolutionary mode - all that off-white carpet blanketing the Cour Carrée back in March made the point explicit that he was wiping the slate clean - this time it felt evolutionary. Maybe that's why were were abducted into the bowels of a spaceship to examine Ghesquiere's fashion specimens at close quarters.

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Models present Louis Vuitton's Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear fashion collection during Paris Fashion Week

After the jolt of the new that accompanied winter, this sat easier on the eye. You were accustomed to the silhouettes, hence a new and lush focus on surface (plenty of velvet, those plasticky knits, leather, sequins) which reads, perhaps easier, as precious than that first outing.

Back to that Starship meeting a fortune cookie analogy. What I mean by that is that Ghesquiere is using retro ideas of the great leap into space, tinkering and punning around them but actually utilising them to create something genuinely forward thinking.

There's a touch of the familiar to his future, something rooted in a past we still hanker after. It's very clever - because it means we're not alienated by his forward thrust. We let it carry us on, to something new.

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