PARIS - Nicolas Ghesquiere's "must-see" debut for Louis Vuitton last Wednesday wrapped up Paris fashion in a grand finale that opened a new chapter for the luxury brand after the departure of Marc Jacobs.
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, one of Asia's biggest stars, Catherine Deneuve, Princess Charlene of Monaco and one-time mentor Jean Paul Gaultier were among the VIPs on the front row to see the prodigiously talented former Balenciaga designer's first collection.
"Don't try talking to anyone in fashion for the next half hour at least," tweeted one woman just before the show, which started with a letter to guests from Ghesquiere left on every seat.
"Words cannot express exactly how I am feeling at this moment. Above all, immense joy at being here in the knowledge that my stylistic expression is at one with the Louis Vuitton philosophy," said the designer who parted company with the fabled Balenciaga fashion house in November 2012.
On the catwalk for autumn/winter 2014/15, Ghesquiere rang the changes with a collection of logo-free clothes with a retro feel.
And in contrast to showman Jacobs - famed for turning his shows into spectacles - there wasn't a carousel or mini-train in sight.
Leather featured not just in the bags but also in pieces worked into the clothes in a wintry palette of black, beiges, browns and splashes of Ghesquiere's favourite "sporty" red.
The new casualness
Ghesquiere's skirts were short, gently flared and cinched at the waist. Trousers were tight-fitting. Everything was high-waisted and teamed with strappy or patent ankle boots.
Outlining his vision backstage after the show, Ghesquiere said he had in mind a woman who was at home mixing pieces in a way that was both modern and effortless.
"I didn't want to do a theme or a story or be very dramatic. I think I have this vision of Vuitton as multiple propositions.... it is a woman who is talented at mixing clothes, more than having a (single) look," he said.