Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the Louis Vuitton Cup, prelude to
the America's Cup, so it was the perfect moment for Kim Jones to take LV to
sea in his third season as Men's Style Director for the house. He added
sport to LV's two totems, travel and luxury, and made a collection that
could carry the Vuitton adventurer from scuba-diving to yachting to
full-moon raving to a tux-clad dinner under the stars.
Jones is a born storyteller in clothes, leading his man from deluxe double-breasted tailoring to a weekend mood (scarcely less deluxe in a superlight crocodile hoodie) before sending him sailing away in his yellow slicker and what looked like a leather life vest. There was a very practical backpacking passage. But the Vuitton m.o. is nothing by halves, so this traveler would likely be hitching a ride on a luxury yacht, where he could model his cashmere neoprene "wet" suit (the very idea being the best illustration yet of Jones' awed declaration, "Nothing is impossible at Louis Vuitton").
The designer insisted his own travels in Indonesia and Thailand infused the collection, but the souvenirs he included actually came from Japan, in the form of items made using the ancient artisanal technique of boro, which creates and sustains fabrics though a never-ending cycle of loving repair. If the patched, worn boro jackets, shirts, and shorts stood out like sore thumbs in the midst of all the surrounding sleekness, they were the clearest testament to Jones' imagination and creativity. And even after he'd brought his sailor man safely back to the suits and blazers of his home city, he still managed to gift him with a jacket in the most form-flattering chenille organza, and a bright white suit in an unlined double-weave voile whose softness—and whose mother-of-pearl buttons—would remind the adventurer of sandy beaches he'd known and loved.