All aboard the Louis Vuitton Express - Fashion - Life & Style - London Evening Standard

All aboard the Louis Vuitton Express

Marc Jacobs harks back to age of steam with an elegant, luxurious collection

The Louis Vuitton Express rolled into Paris fashion week today, with a catwalk show staged in what looked like a fully functioning train station.

It was, however, a marquee in the Louvre made to look like a platform from the steam train era, complete with tracks, and with a huge bronze station clock hanging above the runway.

At the blast of a train whistle, a vintage-inspired locomotive, blowing steam on to the audience, rolled slowly along the rails. Through the windows, 24 models sat in rows of four, their tall hats in shades of mauve, charcoal and green detailed with feather and horsehair corsages.

One by one the models, clad in Marc Jacobs’s autumn/winter collection for Louis Vuitton, disembarked and took to the catwalk. Two-piece suits and coats were layered over ankle-skimming, slightly flared trousers, giving elegant, elongated silhouettes. Recalling a time when train travel was considered the height of luxury, the clothes exuded wealth. Jacquard and brocade were further embroidered and embellished with holograms and plastic stones, while crystal-encrusted silk thread was sewn into oversize coats.

Inspired by Afghan blankets, quilting techniques were used to create stunning cigarette trousers and waistcoats. Glistening floral buttons appeared on neatly fitted, scalloped jackets. Yet there was a sense of modernity entirely relevant to today’s customer.

The bags, of course, played a vital role. Porters followed the models with their “luggage”. Recalling some of Louis Vuitton’s most iconic styles, the accessories on offer included mink and croc-covered satchels, while large plum-coloured hat boxes and vanity cases also featured.

The show was a fitting start to an exciting last day of fashion week for Jacobs. The American designer will celebrate 15 years at the helm of the French label with an exhibition opening in Paris this evening.

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