Louis Vuitton: Fornasetti in the Louvre for fall 2021
Last but very definitely not least, Louis Vuitton completed the 10-day Paris Fashion Week with a collection unveiled Wednesday afternoon that looked south to Italy, and its greatest modern print-maker, Piero Fornasetti.
Born in Milan in 1913, Fornasetti was an artist who worked in multiple disciplines, but is today primarily known for creating everyday objects of great beauty, often inspired by the master architects, sculptors and painters of the early Renaissance.
Fornasetti’s ideas and images rippled through the show video of the Fall/Winter 2021 collection by Vuitton women’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, staged as a live event, though audience-free, inside the Louvre.
Specifically, in the museum’s main sculpture galleries, so the cast marched past the very works of art that had inspired Fornasetti.
The Italian artist’s famed 'Tema e Variazioni,' a series of over 400 women’s heads, seen immediately in great barrel-shaped bags.
Ghesquière continually wove iconic Fornasetti elements into the clothes; from black and white wool coats with neo-classical architectural drawings; to yellow cabans with heraldic images; all the way to sexy mini cocktails with sequins patterned into views of medieval Tuscan walled towns.
Throughout there was a certain sequined glory, as Ghesquière skilfully balanced kicky and athletic fabrics with opulent Italianate prints. The LV designer anchoring many looks with his preferred piratical boots in black or yellow with contrasting toe caps; or bovver boots worthy of Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus finished with gros-grain ribbons. Haute game modernism and all highly influential.
The fresh faced cast – even in the midst of the pandemic, the model cabinet of Vuitton is second to none – prowling past walls of fluorescent tubes. The better to illuminate Fornasetti’s sculpted head prints and metaphysical images on sleeveless vests; armored-shoulder condottiere gals in puffer coats or modern-day paludamentum cocoon capes.
Backed up by a soundtrack mixing the recently separated Daft Punk, from 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' to 'Burnin’,' the show video of barely six minutes certainly zipped along.
“Through this collaboration, I wanted to evoked the timeless modernity of the artistic universe of Fornasetti,” Ghesquière said in his program notes.
The designer spent time in Milan at Fornasetti, where the artist’s son Barnaba continues the thriving business founded by his energetic father.
“These works of his atelier are the result of a remarkable technical mastery and a vision of the world stamped by magic. I am fascinated by the manner in which Fornasetti re-explored and reinvented the classical heritage of Ancient Rome and integrated that into new references in the history of image. As a creator, I am always been captivated by the way of evoking the past, present and future. That’s why I hope to enrich this creative palimpsest of my artistic vision,” explained Ghesquière, who took no bow at the finale.
Though his finale model, attired in a Roman centurion fortified dress, again with Fornasetti’s head designs, did at the end stand to attention. Before the Louvre’s most famous statue – the winged victory of Samothrace standing at the prow of a ship - a great role model and an ideal finale for this fertile meeting of theatrical style and decorative richness.
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