by Stephen Doig, The Daily Telegraph, June 24, 2016
If Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton wanted to evoke Africa in the heart of establishment Paris, at the Palais Royal – a stone's throw from The Louvre – the searing temperatures aided his efforts. While the rest of Europe focuses on Britain, the British designer marked his five years at the French fashion house by looking to lands afar (by way of Camden Market) for his spring/summer 2017 men's show, watched on by his great friend Kate Moss along with David Beckham.
|Photo by Freeimages.com/Simona Balint|
Africa is a recurring theme in Jones' work; a keen conservationist, he spent his childhood in the continent and its wildlife, flora and fauna are an endless source of fascination for him . And that sense of journeying to exotic lands chimes well with Vuitton's heritage as a luggage outfitter, creating one of the fashion world’s most successful partnerships.
Wild beasts of the Serengeti wound their way into Jones' clothes in illustrated form thanks to the work of British art duo Jake and Dinos Chapman – the second time the YBAs have collaborated with Jones at Vuitton – with giraffe heads dropping and big cats prowling over silk shirts and bomber jackets.
Likewise the zebra print tops, shoes and boxy cases, while the Vuitton 'Gaston V' formed a zig-zag effect in tribal beadwork. The crisp, cool safari suit in fawn colour looked entirely covetable in the sweltering heat of the Palais Royal gardens.
Sojourns to Africa aside, Jones cut his teeth as an urban streetwear designer in London and a British sensibility is never far from his work, with an anarchic punk influence bubbling through. Shaggy mohair sweaters were styled with knife-edge sharp, second-skin trousers riddled with zips and stomping brothel creepers, the models jangling with safety pins on ears, or fastened to belts. All of this was carried off with the kind of Parisian polish one expects from a house like Vuitton - artisanal beadwork, crocodile trench coats and bombers in liquid silks and suedes adding a luxe edge.
The scrum backstage was too great to quiz Jones on his thoughts on Brexit, but you get the sense – between his efforts to transport the audience to the plains of Botswana via Paris by way of '70s London – that he's more content not being tied to one place. That said, his happy marriage with Louis Vuitton has cemented his place as one of the strongest men's fashion talents working today, and this collection – one of the best of the SS17 shows – showed brilliantly how wit, artistic cool and haute refinement can be carried off.
This article was written by Stephen Doig from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.