There’s something about Louis Vuitton and bridges. The brand memorably hosted its cruise 2018 show in Kyoto, at the wondrous Miho Museum, with models emerging from the mountains to walk down a suspension bridge, and now, in 2023, it decamped to Seoul to use the city’s Jamsugyo Bridge as its backdrop. Maybe it’s the way bridges stand out against their surroundings, a pre-made catwalk of sorts, or maybe it’s the metaphorical journey from one side to the other that inspired creative director Nicolas Ghesquière to unveil his pre-fall 2023 offering along the bridge, with a set staged by none other than Squid Game director Hwang Dong-Hyuk. The show was truly a metaphorical bridge closing the gap between Seoul and Paris, East and West, past and future, allowing the tensions between two worlds to create something culturally and sartorially harmonious rather than disparate.
Squid Game superstar and Louis Vuitton ambassador Hoyeon Jung opened the show in a royal blue windbreaker tucked into an A-line leather miniskirt, holding an XL Alma bag in a cherry red hue. This look set the tone for the juxtapositions Ghesquière explored throughout the collection. Taking cues from his latest spring/summer show and the deep history of the brand’s trunk-making expertise, he continued his play with proportion, particularly via exaggerated luggage clasps as belts and giant tags made into bags, creating whimsical tricks of the eye that ground the ready-to-wear in savoir-faire that is almost 200 years old.
The rest of the assortment reflected cool Korean street style and the sharp tailoring and high shoulders that Ghesquière is known for, like his signature cropped billowing tops, strict suiting, and overcoats in pinstripes and checkerboard patterns. His trademark colors of rich reds, blues, yellows, countered by blacks, whites, and beiges gave doses of color and reprieve, respectively, with no one pattern or hue overwhelming the others. Chunky shoes grounded all the looks, adding an air of toughness to quiet luxury-esque belted linens layered over tunics in easy neutrals.
The contrast between sportswear and couture, not to mention new and vintage, all came to light through the tightly edited runway offering. These days, it’s refreshing to see someone like Ghesquière set his sights ever forward almost 30 years into his career at the largest luxury label in the world. The interminable bridge runway felt like a crossroads, suspending the clothes in time and place. After all, that’s what great fashion does: push forward toward a new beginning, step by step, from one side to the other.
Kevin LeBlanc is the Fashion Associate at ELLE Magazine. He covers fashion news, trends, and anything to do with Robyn Rihanna Fenty.