Seoul’s Jamsugyo Bridge is almost 800 meters long and spans the storied Hangang River, an epicentre for festivities lined with parks and restaurants, called by locals ‘The Han’. It was shut down for 24 hours for the staging of Louis Vuitton’s first ever Prefall show, a set that makes total sense due to Louis Vuitton’s long history of taking over architecturally significant landmarks and their commitment to the energy of the vibrant city where they now have 35 stores.
Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière – who clearly loves the frenetic energy of the city, which at night can make one feel like a digitised neon tetra – worked with Squid Game Director Hwang Dong-Hyuk on the show scenography to create an atmosphere that fused civil engineering with raw creativity in what they called “a perfect allegory for transformation”.
And transform they did.
Against high winds and low degrees, 1600 guests comprising of celebrities including Alicia Vikander, Chloe Grace Moretz and Jaden Smith joined K-Pop stars such as Sydney-born Felix from Stray Kids and TaeYeon along with international press and over 100 fashion students assembled to the sounds of banging drums and apocalyptic screams.
Model and squid game star HoYeon Jung opened the show against the beat of psychedelic garage rock, setting the tone for a collection that fused Ghesquière’s architectural fascination with a seemingly more relaxed approach to his play on proportions.
His experimental pieces were still very much there – bodysuits reminiscent of Irma Vep, quilted leather mini-skirts and bombers, sportswear in cherry red and his usual play on the waist through structured belts and hardwear. Introduced were more minimal styles in technical fabrics like the pin stripe suits and shirting that told a story of movement, deeply accentuated by wind in the models hair as the stormed past in their restrained flat boots and brogues.
While the beauty styling was demure – a nude lip, a pink eye when not hidden behind glitter glasses or metallic shields shades – sequins and embellishments in the form of beads added a level of, for want for a better word, glamour.
A favourite look? The peach jersey Grecian style maxi topped with a grey sweater vest and a draped belt hinting at the medieval. It was a longer more languid silhouette than we have seen before, ‘baggy’ not being a regular part of the vocabulary, and hints at the artisanal spirit of the Louis Vuitton woman. Speaking of which, the savoir faire was there and nowhere more so than what appears to be a new bag; a fresh take on the hobo that is all slouch and softness. A quieter carry-all than we have seen in a while.
Although the show closed to metal band Deep Purple’s dark lyric’s “April is a cruel time…as I look up at the grey sky”, Ghesquière himself couldn’t have looked more alive as he ran along the runway sporting many smiles, seemingly having found the soul in Seoul.
Watch the full Louis Vuitton Prefall 2023 show, below.