New Louis Vuitton Collection Inspired by Africa

By P. Joseph

Showcased at Paris Men’s Fashion Week in late June, Louis Vuitton’s Spring Summer 2012 collection is based around the brand’s signature leisure pursuit of travel.

The collection was created by Style Director Kim Jones – under the Artistic Direction of Marc Jacobs – and features two distinct design influences: Ivy League Prep and the African Sahara.

Drawing on his childhood spent on the continent during the 1960s and 70s, the British-born designer has produced what fashion commentators have dubbed “relaxed luxury”.

The Africa section features an array of unique creations, some of which were influenced by the attire of the Masai Warriors tribe, such as silk ties with 24-karat gold threading and silk windbreakers, which include graphic Masai check prints.

Other notable items in the range include super fine merino wool blankets and scarves in cashmere and cotton, cashmere blend sweaters and shorts, woven red and blue leather thong accessories, quilted jackets with washed performance leathers for outwear, and two-toned desert boots and technical sandals with alligator leather accents and wooden clasps.

Amongst the Ivy League range is a rowing vest with appliqued handkerchief traditional V logo, an iconic Harrington jacket, club ties, contemporary sporting technological garments and fabrics in natural fibres, and a modern varsity running suit.

Speaking about the new collection, Mr Jones said: “At its simplest level, it is about the idea of travel and what it means at this point in time.

“After all travel forms the foundation of the Vuitton brand. This is a fundamental part of the lineage and language of Louis Vuitton and is a central component of what it stands for today.

“At the same time, the collection is looking at the idea of a personal journey. It forms the notion of a coming-of-age through exploration and travel.”

One of the main sources of inspiration for Mr Jones was New York-born Peter Beard, a renowned photographer and artist whose work has often centred on Africa.

“He is a hero of mine,” added Mr Jones.

“This [collection] is a nod to him and a fictionalised imagining of that period of travel to Africa in the sixties and seventies.

“It is also about how men live their lives, travel and reach maturity now with a practical view of what they want to wear.”

By P. Joseph