Kim Jones has been leading Louis Vuitton’s menswear design since 2011 and, in an era where designers often turn over at a house in three years or less, that permanence is nothing to sneeze at. Aside from setting the tone for the massive maison’s menswear collections for years, it’s Jones’ direct influence that gave us Louis Vuitton x Supreme—an event that changed the fate of streetwear and high fashion's relationship with streetwear (not to mention the
Louis Vuitton business) in unimaginable ways.
Obviously, it’s not just a singular collection that defined Jones’ era while at Louis Vuitton. An avid user of
Instagram himself, Jones’ refashioned the world’s most well-known, travel-centric brand into one that embraced the fact that—when it comes to today’s traveller—determining what to post to social media is as important as deciding what to pack in your (Louis Vuitton) luggage.
Naturally it was Jones’ own travels that inspired his final Vuitton offering, this time sending viewers to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and northern Kenya. It was Jackson Hole rodeo helpers and ranch-hands that spurred the
looks featuring shorts paired with leggings. As Jones tells it, “There were these kids that catch the horses or the cows that people fall off [of], and they were wearing a mix of Western-wear and sportswear.” Of course, Louis Vuitton’s iterations on the shorts were crafted out of cashmere—naturally. While the combination of leggings and shorts feels dreadfully outdated, it’s the prints that feel evergreen. The tree-bark adorned garments (seen, for example, in Looks 4 and 31 read like Louis Vuitton’s hyper-luxe take on Realtree camo.
Speaking of prints, many were plucked from real-life landscape photos taken by a friend of Jones’ as he was flying over the Kenyan countryside. It’s not that those jackets look like abstracted rock formations, valleys or trees—it’s that frankly, they are.
As befitting a brand of Vuitton’s stature, the fabrications were equally luxe; cashmere and silk were combined to form a synthetic shearling, silver ponyskin was given a metallic edge, python was laser-cut and bonded to jersey and lacaune sheepskin was punched into cashmere for a watermarking effect (to say nothing of that astounding vicuña topcoat).
Like the models that wore them (shouts to
Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss) the all-over monogram printed items are sure to be street-style fodder for years to come; while far from the only callback to earlier eras of work at Vuitton, it felt like these looks were referencing last year’s partnership with Supreme.
Sweaters, shorts, knits, bags, shirts and coats; leather, sheepskin, taped seams and zippers—Jones’ final Fall/Winter at Vuitton is a farewell collection that manages to pack high-quality versions of nearly everything a well-travelled man needs in his wardrobe—all with the flavor, concept and panaché that’s befitting a Louis Vuitton pricetag. But, if nothing else, it's the
“Peace and Love” sweater that really drives home Jones’ greatest export while touring the world under the Vuitton banner. That piece is sure to become quite coveted as fans of this era begin to snap up Jones’ work like rare sartorial commodities.
Even though travel has been at the core of his career for the last seven years, we can imagine a man like Jones needs a vacation. If only we knew where he was heading to next.