Nicolas Ghesquière Presents a Bright New Louis Vuitton for Fall 2014

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After Marc Jacobs stepped down from Louis Vuitton last fall, the fashion world held their collective breath — impatient as only fashionistas can be — to see what successor Nicolas Ghesquière would bring to the hallowed French brand. And as Paris Fashion Week sparkled to a close, the star-studded guests at Wednesday morning's show were finally given some really lovely answers.

Once the guests took their seats, the slatted walls of the Louve opened up, allowing sunshine to flood the runways. We couldn't have invented a better metaphor for Ghesquière's debut; the collection was bright, fresh, cool, commercial in the best way, and totally unlike Jacobs' moody farewell presentation. The clothes were full of vintage references and industrial detailing; the whole collection stuck pretty closely to a palate of neutrals — but with caramel browns, warm creams, and a lot of shiny patent leather, the whole thing felt bright, not unsaturated.

The show was not, however, a reckless abandonment of Jacobs' legacy: a note from Ghesquière, placed on every seat, overflowed with excitement about the future while honoring Jacobs' past. Nor was Ghesquière insensitive to what makes Louis Vuitton profitable. Believe it or not, clothing only accounts for 5 percent of LV sales, while leather goods rack in about 90 percent. Models carried boxy handbags that toed a perfect line between classic LV and Ghesquière-ese. Not to be crass, but… these things will sell.

Between the sunlight, the shine of patent leather, and the general attitude of cheerful, invigorating cool, it looks like spring came early for a Louis Vuitton with Ghesquière at the helm.

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