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PARIS — What may be designer Marc Jacob’s last ready-to-wear collection for Louis Vuitton looked like a show in mourning today — black, black and more black.
A dark fountain, a nightmarish carousel with inky horses like surreal dark knights, was met with a universe of clothes in all black. Maids cleaned away dust from the steps of the disturbing set.
Shortly after the show in Paris’ Louvre Museum ended, the visual metaphor was explained: French luxury conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton announced that Jacobs was stepping down after 16 years as creative director of its flagship brand Louis Vuitton.
Jacobs, who is also the director of an eponymous brand, is one of the biggest names in the fashion industry. Under his tenure, Louis Vuitton became the most lucrative fashion house in the world, in part thanks to his creation of a ready-to-wear line.
LVMH, which owns the Louis Vuitton brand and an array of other luxury names purveying everything from jewelry to champagne, would not say who would replace Jacobs or what his next move would be.
At the show today, models filed by in jet-black warrior-like feathered headdresses, evoking a self-defense aura.
The 41-piece display — which used embroidered black tulle stockings, Eisenhower jackets embellished cabaret-style with large feathered shoulders, dark embroideries, smoking jackets and some 1940s baggy blue jeans — was a dark affair.
The glimmering catwalk landscape was towered over by a huge clock whose arms, instead of going forward, went back in time. It was as if the designer was trying to look to the past — or even get some time back.
“We went back and used all the different bits of the sets of the past and made them black,” Jacobs explained backstage without elaborating on his future plans.
The clothes, too, went back in time. Floor-length, thick Edwardian dresses and large proportions in the sleeves fused with black decorative corset details, evoking fashions of the 1900s and contrasting with the more revealing “showgirl” looks.
In the program notes, Jacobs enclosed an emotional goodbye to LVMH’s CEO: “For... Bernard Arnault. All my love, always.”
But it was the standing ovation from Anna Wintour that said the most. Such rare, visible acclaim from the powerful U.S. Vogue editor — to whom he partly dedicated the show — capped Jacob’s tenure at Louis Vuitton.