Alicia Vikander, a moderately famous actress, is also known for being one of Louis Vuitton designer Nicholas Ghesquiere’s many muses. Since 2015 she has appeared at numerous marketing events, fashion shows, and red carpets for the brand. In fashion circles, she is regarded as one of the brand’s definitive “faces,” as well as its imagined customer: thin, rich, white, and European. So, I’m utterly baffled at why the brand would choose to dress her like this for their latest fashion show. I wasn’t aware that Louis Vuitton now made clothes for French clowns with a Sears catalogue fetish.
What the fuck is Nicholas Ghesquiere doing?
At the brand’s S/S 2021 show in Paris, Alicia Vikander popped up wearing—bear with me here—Breton stripe yoga pants, a beige drawstring utility coat most popular among suburban moms in the early 2010s, pointed-toed
stilettos, and a ruffled collar stolen from Pagliacci. And, because the rest of it wasn’t already doing the literal most, Ghesquiere’s team handed her one of the brand’s many lunchbox purses, because they like to make money, and Vikander is essentially a walking billboard.
I’d like to stress that this is not Alicia Vikander’s fault. Celebrities have some choice in what they wear on the red carpet, but for most fashion shows, brands like LV dictate what its ambassadors show up in. To Vikander, I’d like to apologize, for saying things that will probably hurt someone’s feelings.
Everything about this is wrong. The outfit reads like it was assembled by an alien who’d only experienced modern culture through the lens of mid-2000s Gap ads. I won’t fault the styling of the hair or makeup, since it is a pandemic, and I doubt there were very many options for Vikander to choose from. So instead, let me start with the Breton stripes. I understand that Ghesquiere has an all-too-obvious hard-on for the French-ness of Louis Vuitton, and the image it projects of its ideal customer. But even the most basic of Parisians must understand how stupid they look in a Breton stripe. The motif has circled past culturally significant and into the realm of parody. When I see a Breton stripe, I don’t think French sophistication. I think of all the mimes who never realized their dreams on America’s Got Talent. Combined with the suede stilettos, Vikander also looks like the daughter of a megachurch pastor who is “really into fashion.”
And then there’s the matter of the coat, concerning which I have a large amount of questions. The stitched-on elbow patches date it to an era in fashion that everyone should mostly forget, around 2011, when every rack at Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Gap was stuffed with these. I’m also horrified by the realization it’s not just a drawstring coat on the bottom—where the dangly bits hang low like the remnants of a forgotten spaghetti dinner—but in the waist as well. For a “luxury coat” like this, I’m also aghast that Louis Vuitton placed the drawstring pouch around the middle so close to the breast pockets, which crumple and bulge out like ill-fitting boob pouches.
The worst of it, of course, is the ruffled collar, which calls to mind the lace ruffs of the early 17th century, commonly worn by the sort of aristocrats the French beheaded during the revolution. This is not the curious accessories’ first re-appearance in the luxury market—just look at the entire Gucci project since Alessandro Michele commandeered the house—but it is its worst iteration yet. That Ghesquiere and his team opted for a blinding bone-white, instead of a cream, or off-white to complement the coat, troubles me. The hideous collar is obviously meant to be paired with the yoga pants, but that brings up another fundamental problem with this outfit: The warm-toned coat cuts Vikander’s proportions in half when assaulted from the top and bottom with startlingly white Breton stripes and that god-awful collar.
This outfit is obviously an attack on the fundamentals of good womenswear. I know that, and perhaps, everyone else who looks at it does too. So the real question, then, is why doesn’t Nicholas Ghesquiere?