Marc Jacobs is unique in fashion for his willingness to acknowledge the efforts of his collaborators. His generosity is most apparent in menswear, a subject he happily claims not to understand all that well. That's why he handed the reins of his latest Louis Vuitton men's collection to Paul Helbers, formerly of Martin Margiela's design studio. It was Helbers who came up with the show's complex rationale, a meeting of Victorian England and Hawaii (he said he likes finding harmony between extremes).

The new man at the helm was also responsible for the presentation, which—in an effort to create an impression of real clothes in motion—featured models marching backward and forward in front of shimmering, watery back-projections. If the overall effect was too abstract to allow a full appreciation of Helbers' work, there were signs that he might in time set a new standard for LV's menswear.

This collection's underlying concept was most obvious in the hibiscus print on shirts, scarves, and ties (the paper lei invitation was kind of charming, too). And, according to Helbers, the dark Jacquards reflected an imagined Hawaiian response to traditional English weaving techniques. Phew!

Highfalutin concepts aside, it was easy to see the appeal of trim blousons, beautifully cut trousers, and piqué waistcoats that added a flair of fashion. And, come next spring, the branded bags and silvery shoes might launch the kind of waiting lists Vuitton's women's accessories regularly do. That alone would presumably be enough to justify Jacobs' faith.