Louis vuitton india kim jones collection hawa mahal

Louis Vuitton style | Kim Jones in India | Maharaja muse

Charisma and character - and just a little bit game-changing. Action!

India’s grand palaces, lakes and hunting grounds – even its aviation heritage – inspired one luxury brand’s Spring Summer 2015 collection, with its embellished fabrics, smart military tailoring and inventive sport style. Louis Vuitton men’s style director Kim Jones enlightens Susan Skelly on how the sub continent has shaped the creative process.

The colours of India? 

Indigo, shocking pink and orange. I am particularly interested in indigo and its unique quality and sustainability. Indigo will be part of the man’s wardrobe for the foreseeable future. My personal interest in different cultures and the way they make things has made me look at Indian textiles and embroideries and how we could use different dyes. We also used pink, as the modern man is confident and likes to stand out.

Styles that resonate? 

The particular way Indian men dress, especially those in official capacities, was very memorable to me: that kind of 1970s silhouette and smart, put-together feeling. Some of the shirts have been inspired by Indian turban fabrics.

Textile idiosyncrasies? 

Indian textile design has, and probably will always influence the colour and pattern in men’s fashion. Fabric techniques such as tie-dye and shisha (mirrored) embroidery were used in this collection in a clean, sparing way. We also used silk in a number of ways and weights to convey the lightness and ease of clothing we saw in Rajasthan.

louis vuitton india kim jones collection lookbook

Designs featured in the Spring Summer 2015 Louis Vuitton collection. Photo courtesy Louis Vuitton

Motifs that connect?

Large-scale, multicolour Karakoram, a Louis Vuitton pattern from the 1920s, shot with the season’s blue, shocking pink and orange, appears on a dotted ground taken from India’s Mothra tie-dye technique, which places the dots very tightly as a traditional mark of social rank. Polo shirts in an L&V patchwork of bright orange and pink on khaki evoke India’s maharaja sportsmen.

Other inspirations?

This season is all about looking at the stars. While travelling to Rajasthan, I discovered Sawai Jai Singh, the king behind the building of Jaipur, India’s pink city. He also constructed its fantastic Jantar Matar observatory gardens in the early 18th century. Singh’s 19th-century descendant, Sawai Ram Singh II, wore signature glasses that crossed on the bridge of the nose. These inspired this season’s eyewear, while India sundials appear on belt buckles and cufflinks.

Learning that came from crafting this collection? 

I looked at Rajasthan from the viewpoint of its relationship with Louis Vuitton; for Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh and the country’s aviation history. I learnt that many of the maharajas were among the first to fly and, historically, they were walking around in their flying suits, which was therefore the inspiration for the boiler suits. I was also inspired by the relationship between maharajas and Louis Vuitton in the 1920s when we were producing a lot of trunks for them.

Louis Vuitton Kim Jones Indian Inspiration Spring Summer 2015

Shocking pinks and oranges, boiler suits and mirror studs, inspired by the maharajas. Photo courtesy Louis Vuitton

What is the spirit of this collection?

I was looking at the past to inform the future. It was more an idea of fusing past with present, to celebrate the craftsmanship of India and its culture. I also really looked at modern India and I always try to think about the modern travelling man when I put a collection together. There is an innate style with men here, mixing utility, formal dressing and sportswear. I also looked at the intricacy of the maharaja style for all our accessories and stripped them back to give a modern graphic feel, as that is really what interests me in India.

Literature on India you love?

Kipling’s The Jungle Book and Collected Stories.

A standout place to stay?

The Aman-i-Khás in Ranthambore is one of my favourite places, as well as the Ranthambore National Park, the former hunting ground of the maharajas of Jaipur, for tiger and bird safaris. The Rambagh Palace in Jaipur is another.

Source Qantas The Australian Way June 2015

 Your turn: Has India left an impression? Which are the most indelible?


Editor. Writer. Traveller. Keeping tabs on all things fab. susan@excessallareas.com.au

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Copyright © Susan Skelly 2020.