Sometimes fashion takes us far, far away in the fantastical sense, and in other cases the journey is one you must make on, say, a crowded Paris highway. In the case of Louis Vuitton’s show yesterday morning, an advance email informed showgoers that the event would take place somewhere outside the city. As the panic began to set in — where, exactly, was this far-flung location? — the savvier types quickly realized that the Frank Gehry–designed Fondation Louis Vuitton, which has yet to open to the public, was the clear candidate. And so the fashion pack journeyed out into the wild — well, the Bois de Boulogne, the wooded park on the city limits, clutching our telltale lipstick-red pochettes that held the invite.
Inside the spectacular venue, whose falling-water feature was easily the Instagram moment of the day, a video of a heterogenous group of models speaking eerily in unison delivered the message: “The LV house wants to explore the ability to travel to any part of the universe without moving. The journey starts here.” But the collection felt indubitably French: It took up where fall’s bourgeois romp left off, though the feeling was more casual, especially in the case of its rampant use of denim. Ghesquière revived his leather miniskirt from last season, this time in snappy, shiny patent. The tony inhabitants of neighboring Neuilly-sur-Seine would go wild for the high-necked lace pieces that strike a balance between concealing and revealing. And the designer even good-naturedly mocked conspicuous consumption via sports cars, nail polish, and vacuums. It was only fitting that Catherine Deneuve, who incarnated she-only-seems-frigid bourgeois womanhood in Belle de Jour, was looking on. Just call it “Severine on the School Run.”
“You can take me for a long walk on the beach, but don’t touch me.” Those words echoed over the soundtrack at Miu Miu, and seemed significant, as every detail of a Miuccia Prada production is. As the brand’s customary row of starlets looked on — this season, Shailene Woodley, Hailee Steinfeld, Léa Seydoux, and a glowing pregnant Liv Tyler — models semi-disguised ruffled crop tops and feminine midi skirts under oversize trenches, as if they were girls sneaking out of the house to go nightclubbing, dying to look sexy but not entirely confident about it.
The final show of the day, Hermès, provided a nice chance to see the Jardin de Luxembourg on a beautiful not-quite-fall day, with kids petting miniature horses and adults hitting the tennis courts. The house chose the park’s orangerie, which used to hold its orange trees and today made a lovely backdrop for Christophe Lemaire’s final collection for the house. (He’ll be replaced by Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, a veteran of Céline and the Row.)
Lemaire got a big hand from the crowd and a partial standing ovation from his well-wishers, and he should have: The quiet, simple collection epitomized everything Hermès is known for. The draped, monastic looks in pure white, on-brand scarf prints and a variant on the house’s signature orange featured a restful quality: the perfect note on which to end the frantic circus that is PFW.