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Louis Vuitton: Muse Mode

Godfrey Deeny
March 12th, 2009 @ 2:24 PM - Paris

The Vuitton woman has an agenda: She doesn’t need you; she wants to have fun. Her mom or grandmother was a famous muse with a French name, and the muses lived again Thursday afternoon, March 12 at the Louis Vuitton show in the courtyard of the Louvre in Paris.

Marc Jacobs sent out a fall 2009 collection inspired by the most famous European muses, even if at times, one sensed the audience was not terribly sure of who many of them were, or even the exact pronunciation of their names.

The concept of the muse is in the air, as the collection comes hot on the heels of Jacobs' announcement that he would be sponsoring the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s next fashion exhibit “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion.”

More relevantly for the consumer, the collection was very inventive, quaintly racy, brilliantly colored and, ultimately will be an influential collection as well as one that broke new ground.

What was most cool about this show was that Jacobs did not reference the obvious suspects – Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell or Twiggy – but instead looked back to the generation whose taste and art for living makes modern supermodels look like upstarts not able to spot the difference between a Matisse and a mattress.

“It was Victoire (de Castellane), Marie Seznec and Ines (de la Fressange),” Jacobs shouted out backstage, referring to the muses at the house of Chanel, Christian Lacroix and, again, Chanel.

Out on the runway, we got a great dose of Euro-chic style, leavened with American wit as several models wore Playboy Bunny ears.

Overall, the look was vamp society hostess with lacy tops, jackets with bulb shaped shoulders and frilly, puckered dresses, the sort that a lady would only really wear when hosting a dinner at her home. There were lots of faintly androgynous tuxedo jackets, green chokers and taut transparent tops.

There was also a great series off ruched cocktail dresses and the sort of see-through black chiffon top that well brought up haute bourgeois Parisian ladies would feel they could wear among friends. Whether Vuitton will produce even half this stuff is uncertain or whether in six months time no Vuitton store on the planet will have even a third of this ready-to-wear collection on its racks or shelves.

When it came to accessories, however, Jacobs hit a home run with naughty ankle boots or side zippered riding boots, both with pyramid heels. He really struck gold with possibly his best collection of bags for Vuitton. Whether marbleized clutches or silver stamped logo purses or turquoise rosette totes, it was a money in the bank moment. They were bags so good that the Vuitton vixen could get back to doing what she likes best: whatever she pleases.

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