On a Tuesday in October, in the heart of Paris, French fashion house Louis Vuitton delivered a virtual reality fashion show unparalleled to anything previously conceived during our COVID-era. Housed inside the newly remodeled La Samaritaine department store, a much-loved iconic building located in the heart of Paris, the Louis Vuitton Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear fashion show was a new representation of how technology is connecting us during these uncertain times.
Founded in 1870 and ideally situated between the Louvre and Notre-Dame, La Samaritaine has risen to the rank of an architectural monument with its efficacious mix of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. Landmarked portions were gloriously restored for its hopeful reopening around early 2021, while the Rue de Rivoli end of the hulking building now boasts a rippling facade of reflective glass. The fashion show took place at the top floor, or rather “La Rotonde,” a vast open space under a glass cupola framed by period metalwork staircases and monumental panels painted in the famed Art Nouveau style. Distributed throughout the show were large swaths of green panels, serving as chroma key screens for digitally layered-in scenes of Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire, for the virtual audiences. 360-degree cameras ringed La Rotonde, allowing viewers at home to swivel in their chairs and watch the parade of models as if they were attending the event in person. The slim and swerving lines of L-Acoustics Syva professional loudspeakers blended harmoniously and elegantly into this retro-futurist décor.
“What space is there for a category of clothing between feminine and masculine? We’re defining a type of clothing that lives in a non-binary zone,” said fashion designer and Creative Director of Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière.
For this year’s fashion show, Ghesquière’s line was less about structured feminine and masculine clothing designs. Flirting more with the world of the in-between, the 2021 Ready-to-Wear line erases social constructs and opens up creative possibilities to new silhouettes and designs that redefine the nature of what we expect out of typical gendered clothing pieces – freeing up a neutral landscape with a personality of bold colors, looser shapes, and casual hairstyles. Relaxed tops emblazoned with a single actionable word, suits encrusted with silver sequins, puffy coats, and puffy heels, tailored sneakers, and cinched belts dominated the virtual runway.
Sharing the same raison d’être with La Samaritaine and Louis Vuitton of bringing together art, style, and function, L-Acoustics Syva, with its sleek innovative design, provided by De Préférence, was the perfect fit for the event sound system. Boasting a wide horizontal coverage of 140°, with 26° vertical directivity focused on the listening area, Syva delivers sound with laser-like precision and clarity. Syva shines in terms of intelligibility at high SPL, allowing the listeners at La Samaritaine to savor the dynamics of the euphonious music composition created by Tepr and Yoann Lemoine, professionally known as Woodkid.
Woodkid, who was conscripted by Vuitton in 2017, caught Ghesquière’s ear resulting in an ongoing collaboration of show music. Since then, Woodkid has soundtracked about ten Louis Vuitton shows and relishes the challenge of adding new elements to his sonic palette.
In an Instagram post, Ghesquière stated, “Thank you to everyone who put in so much hard work to make our [Louis Vuitton] SS21 show come to life! While not everyone was able to attend in person, we definitely felt your presence and as always are grateful for your support.”
You can watch the full innovative fashion event on Louis Vuitton’s YouTube page.