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Louis Vuitton's Geometric Travel

By Godfrey Deeny

Fashion Wire Daily - Paris - Marc Jacobs looked for inspiration just around the corner in his latest collection for Louis Vuitton, stimulated by a once bitterly controversial '80s work of public art located five minutes walk from the luxury brand's Paris headquarters.

Daniel Buren's once heavily mocked, and now happily accepted, 260 black and white marble modernist pillars in the 17th Palais Royale inspired Vuitton's collection, where clothes varied as much as the famed columns.

When first installed, the austere art piece was sneered at for intruding into a majestic neoclassical garden. However, Vuitton's spring 2013 collection, staged Wednesday, Oct. 3, literally across in a courtyard of the Louvre, won far more immediate acceptance.

In a season dominated by geometry, this was the ultimate conceit, as Jacobs completely eschewed Vuitton's classic monogram print, and concentrated entirely on its Damier pattern. And again, this check varied from micro sized to two-foot square in a show of considerable contrast.

Vuitton even hired Buren to design a "site specific" installation, which meant four long escalators, up and down which the models moved in couples in and out of the giant custom-made auditorium. Its sheer grandeur complimented Vuitton's hyper practical image, as did the remarkable precision of this show. It kicked off exactly at 11 a.m. and was over – including Jacobs' bow - in less than 10 minutes. Time wise, it did help that the models walked in pairs, each wearing contrasting checks, though always in the same colors.

"Vuitton is a company that is about travel. That can be to somewhere in your mind. So, these few minutes are where we want to take you somewhere else, somewhere you have never been before," Jacobs said backstage.

"The work of Daniel Buren really inspired myself and my team. His wonderful columns are in three different lengths, so the clothes are too!" added Jacobs, who sent out mini cocktails, just below the knee dresses and floor-sweeping gowns.

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