Glastonbury 1995, and cameras capture an Adidas-clad Robbie Williams, fresh from walking out on his boy-bandmates for the first time, fag in hand, hair cropped and bleached, and ‘aving it with Liam Gallagher from Oasis. As Fck You statements go, a fairly strong one from the former Take That pretty boy.
Fast-forward twenty years and former One Direction pretty boy Zayn Malik rocks up to the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2016 menswear show also sporting a peroxide crop, this time dressed for the event by Vuitton menswear designer Kim Jones. Just another case of history repeating, maybe, but a slight sidestep for Vuitton, a brand which, until now, had been careful to avoid the celebrity circus that has blighted many Parisian fashion shows. This was underlined by Zayn’s front row neighbours, Paris veteran Kanye West and current teenage wet dream Nick Jonas.
Luckily the media meltdown didn’t detract from the clothes, which riff on fashion’s current fixation with the Far East, a theme also seen at (amongst others) Dries Van Noten, Maharishi and, most successfully, at Xander Zhou. But more about that later.
Jones’ own take on this was specifically Southeast Asia’s adoption of American culture, hence the ample use of red, white and blue. Materials, as always, are envelope-pushing next-level luxury; indigo-dyed Kobe leather, sundried hides from pampered calves, and pearls dyed indigo in the shell.
The youthful K-Pop star aesthetic may seem miles away from the target Vuitton customer, not to say dollars, but with the luxury goods industry pinning its hopes on the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea, it feels timely, if not slightly cynical, with branding toned down to comply with the current backlash against opulent luxury.
That said, the British designer’s embroidered silk shirt and short combos, and plush riff on the traditional varsity jacket, have an attractive opulence all of their own. Undoubtedly another smash hit from Kim Jones.
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) for www.katiechutzpah,com