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Defining the style of a country is a complicated challenge, especially when it comes to France, a place that is given many definitions of style but that we can hardly define with any certainty. Louis Vuitton is certainly part of the multiple creative influences of what can be considered French style, and this season Nicolas Ghesquière has tried to identify it, translate it into his own personal and recognisable language, pass it through the Maison's filter, and represent it in forty-four looks.

We've been watching Ghesquière work under the roofs of Louis Vuitton for several years now, ten to be exact, and if there's one thing we've learned, it's to expect the unexpected and not take it literally, but to read between the lines, even if we have to make a bit of an effort. This time, although it's true that the collection has been much more controlled and digestible than previous ones, the press release and a few minutes detailing each look are necessary to get us into what Ghesquière wants to communicate to us. It's a collection in which the central focus has been the so-called French aesthetic, that je ne sais quoi that, although difficult to define in words, generates an image in our mind when we hear the term. The definitions that emerge are varied; they can be observed from different angles and perspectives, and this gathering of references is what the designer has shown in this collection.

The show took place in the vaulted salons of the Musée d'Orsay, under the attentive gaze of a star-studded front row, in which Zendaya, allegedly the brand's new ambassador (fingers crossed she's not), got all the attention. With the interesting sound design created by Nicolas Becker – a mix of sounds of busy French life in the background – the collection looks suited to everyday life, with less surrealistic cuts than in past collections that followed one after the other. The more fitted two-piece suits without any garments underneath speak of a natural but polished elegance, while others in looser silhouettes with baggy trousers and oversized blazers convey an effortlessly chic vibe that is far from being effortless to achieve. Along this line, there are also looks where the blazer is replaced by waistcoats, knitted tops, or sleeveless blouses with a lingerie look. The way the scarves present in several of these looks have been styled, with one side tight around the neck and the other extended and dropped, has given off quite a French vibe, whatever that means.

The more literal French spirit was also present with both the large bag in the shape of the Maison's Place Vendôme flagship store and the three colours of the flag in various details throughout the collection. Many of the looks are paired with tricolour gloves as well as the bags, among which we can find new versions of classics like the Go-14, this time in blue, white, and red. With the Olympics just around the corner and France being the host country, it's not hard to imagine these pieces as part of the national athletes' kit. The trend of making garments that don't look like leather but are leather is also present in coats that look like wool but aren't. Other recurring details include glasses in the style of Phantom of the Opera masks and pins and prints with instruments that allude to martial bands. Maybe for us the French style looks different, but Ghesquière has given us his own valid definition.

Natalia Andrea Pérez Hernández

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