PARIS — Like many people, Nicolas Ghesquière, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton women’s wear, started really traveling again last year — for work, for fun — after being mostly housebound during Covid lockdowns. And wherever he went, he and his team or he and his friends, would shop. They were trying to answer what he called “the eternal question”: What is French style?
And they were looking for something to wear. Which is another eternal question.
“And I began to think,” Mr. Ghesquière said before his show on Monday, the penultimate day of the fall 2023 fashion season, “why don’t we address again the list of wishing?” In other words, get everyone to make a wish list of clothes they wanted, but could not find.
Then he collated the results, filtered them through his idea of French style (because what is Vuitton except one of Gallic chic’s most global synonyms?), and offered an answer.
Shown on a catwalk made to resemble a cobbled city street to the tune of beeping car horns, clicking high heels, dog barks and birdsong — the whole urban symphony minus the catcalls and grumpy asides — it looked like a snapshot of a late afternoon human swirl walking down Quai Voltaire in a Paris of the mind.
There were pleated silk jackets (because offices are back) belted over pearl-trimmed cobwebby knits (because they aren’t entirely). Sharp-shoulder shaved fake-fur jackets paired with leather jeans. A chunky belted camel wool coat that turned out to be not wool at all but leather printed to look like wool. A wisp of a filigree beaded skirt worn with an angora bodysuit and a woolly scarf twisted around the neck, as if the woman had gone straight from yoga class to a gallery job by way of the coffee shop.