“I wanted total camp glamour, clothes for the extrovert; chinoiserie, the 1920s, everything that Paris stands for,” Marc Jacobs said backstage after his spring 2011 Louis Vuitton show in Paris this morning. Jacobs cited Kenzo Takada and the early work of other Japanese designers who showed their lines first in Paris as inspirations. “I love the exoticism, the way Paris embraced Orientalism,” he added. This Susan Sontag quote, another inspiration, was printed on the show notes: “The relation between boredom and camp taste cannot be overestimated. Camp taste is by its nature possible only in affluent societies, in societies or circles capable of experiencing the psychopathology of affluence.”
So that translated to bold animal prints, cheongsam dresses, mandarin collars, fans as accessories, and a panda shirt. Suzy Menkes, who calls the show “a piece of gaudy fun,” writes:
By the time the first models had sashayed out in slim dresses slit to reveal the leg, you didn’t need a master’s in Mandarin to get the message that China is hot retail property for Louis Vuitton. Historical Shanghai made a fun way to transmit the message to the audience, even if the Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, in a scoop-front Vuitton dress from last season, seemed mystified by the Chinese element while Asian journalists asked for a definition of “camp.”
One wonders if these are the clothes Chinese shoppers want? If they like it, the Telegraph’s Hilary Alexander notes that animal activists will not, as the set included three stuffed tigers and two tiger skins. Maybe the message is just that some skin is in? After all Kristen McMenamy closed the show wearing zebra body paint applied by Pat McGrath instead of a top. You know, who needs another shirt, really?
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Clearly all we need is the cats.