Louis Vuitton's Futuristic Show Reminds Us How Great Fashion Can Be

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Nicolas Ghesquière is a designer who loves science fiction. Long before other designers were making overt references to Star Wars in their collections, he was bringing space-age concepts to a couture level on his runways, often in ways that were seen as ahead of their time. With his latest collection as artistic director of Louis Vuitton, Ghesquière on Wednesday captured that same look of futurism in a way that made most people in the audience want it right now, like the painted leather coats that looked personalized, like LV luggage, with panels of logos and stripes. This was easily one of his best, simply for the reason that there was so much there for women to buy.

And it put a nice punctuation point on the end of a fashion season that was largely about decoration, and fooling the eye. Ghesquière’s approach was more subtle, though, using a few brush strokes of black paint to give the illusion of a motorcycle jacket (one was worn by Liya Kebede, pictured above). There were some actual moto jackets in candy pink and black, too, as well as parachute-weight track pants in pastel color blocks and white poetic blouses with frilly necks, and thin vests painted with strips of Vuitton logos, stripes, and Damier checks, suggesting the idea of world where everything can be customized (below).

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In almost everything about the show, from the clothes to the Tron-like runway set, Ghesquière was playing with the idea of virtual reality, but remained rooted firmly in the regular reality of wearable clothes.

Held in a spare black cube on the grounds of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the show featured a labyrinthine runway framed with large video monitors that shifted in space throughout the show. At the beginning, they showed a man wearing virtual reality goggles, scanning what appeared to be his apartment and then creating a world around it. Then came haunting images of owls in flight, and computer graphics of bright colors in geometric patterns, as if the signal had gone off the air.

It would have been easy for a designer to paint a more dystopian view of the future, and one vest outfitted with an array of black-and-white quills did put off a Katniss vibe. After four weeks of shows, fashion people are a little jaded. But Ghesquière’s optimism served as a reminder that great fashion can be just that: Great.

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Rounding out the Paris collections, Giambattista Valli showed a more romantic collection for Moncler Gamme Rouge, with a large offering of short white lace dresses. Some of his looks were inspired by fencing uniforms, but the stronger influence appeared to be the formality of white and its association with bridal gowns (above), which have appeared elsewhere this season in the collections of Balenciaga, and Faith Connexion, for example.

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Finally, Miuccia Prada, in her Miu Miu collection, gave the sheer dress trend one last go, by layering hints of oversize baby-doll pastels over some serious checked suiting and under some heavy graphic coats (especially heavy for spring). Her models, wearing tiaras and painted frowns, looked as maudlin as an ad for American Horror Story, but fear not, there was a typical Prada touch of humor in the clothes—big dresses printed with sketches of burning candles (above)—as well. Many of the looks were trimmed with raccoon tails.

Eric Wilson is InStyle's fashion news director. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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