Kim Jones has centuries of National Geographic secreted in his hidey-hole. The man is a natural-history buff to give David Attenborough a run for his money. The fact that he is also Louis Vuitton's men's studio and style director only adds extraordinary layers to his passion for nature. Imagine how he felt as he researched the latest men's collection for Vuitton in the Himalayas, hiking through the Bhutanese cloud forest, the only place in the world where tigers and snow leopards cross paths. Ah yes, it's a designer's life.

But Jones is a connoisseur of life in all its forms. He understands luxury. The snow leopard he so loves made its presence felt in the first look of today's show: a cashmere coat with an underlay of mink that had been needle-punched through to the surface to make a pattern of snow leopard spots. The tone was set: technical expertise meets extravagance. Jones said that the goal was to introduce elements of LV's bread-and-butter leather goods into the clothes. You could imagine a bag being cut from a single hide, but a cocoon coat? How big was that animal? The seamless modernity of the result was compounded by laser-cut slash pockets. It was the same with a puffa made from reindeer leather, or a parka trimmed with a wide band of VVT (Vache Végétal Teinté), the result of Vuitton's environmentally sound means of leather production.

Bhutan's ethnic dress has only ten patterns for checks and stripes. Picture a Nat Geo-phile like Jones going haywire for the possibilities presented by such limits. They were here in the Bhutanese stripes of a duffel or a poncho. The designer wanted them to stand for the things that travelers return home with. At the same time, he commissioned Dinos and Jake Chapman, Brit-art provocateurs par excellence, to make images that would translate across clothing and accessories. Their snow leopard sweater was benign. Their Garden in Hell print was something else, a luxuriously graphic rendition of flora and fauna with fangs, rendered in silk jackets, robes, and lounging pajamas. The tux will never be the same. Nor will the carpetbag, so densely, intensely clotted with needle-punched embroidery that it was a work of art walking.

If those extremes defined the personality of Jones as a designer, the cufflinks carved from stones lifted from Everest said something about him as a dreamer. And he certainly reached the top of that mountain with today's collection.