As designer of Louis Vuitton, whose show takes place on the last day of Paris fashion week, Marc Jacobs gets to close the catwalk season – and he could not resist signing off with a wink.
While the March show was staged on a set depicting Claridges in the early hours of the morning, and ended with the sight of Kate Moss’s bottom as she exited the catwalk in hotpants and leather boots, smoking a cigarette, for this show, the wink was less saucy but, in its own way, just as provocative.
It is the fashion world’s worst-kept secret that Jacobs is the frontrunner to replace Galliano at Dior, with an announcement perhaps in the next few weeks, although negotiations are reported to have stalled over Jacobs’s salary expectations.
Before this show, journalists were warned that Jacobs would not be answering any Dior-related questions. That, however, did not mean he had no messages to convey.

Louis Vuitton and Paris Fashion Week 2011
Louis Vuitton 2011.

Kate Moss doesn’t get out of bed for any designer these days – apart for Marc Jacobs. “She asked to be in the show,” the designer said backstage at Louis Vuitton, “and she’s a very dear friend so…happy to oblige”.
This time round, Moss was noticeably more demurely dressed than for her first outing back in March. Then the 37-year-old wore microscopic black hot pants and fetish boots, provoking a gazillion tweets about her cellulite. No wonder she was puffing so heavily on her cigarette back then – and on No Smoking Day too, as the press gleefully noted.
Ciggie notwithstanding, that old Moss Magic did its work. Vuitton have sold 2000 pairs of those boots to date – at ?1,530 a pair.
Can she do the same for lace collars and vanilla tulle? For that’s what she wore on the Vuitton catwalk this time. There was no cigarette either – just a carousel of 48 horses, one for every model, each of whom looked adorable, in their sugared almond coloured princess dresses and twinkly skirt suits.
If you like sweetness and light, this was a heavenly constellation of prettiness. There would have been more of it, but Vuitton had already booked the biggest carousel in Paris, so Jacobs had to edit the collection down to 48 outfits.
A few years ago, no model, not even Moss, would have had the power to sell 2,000 of anything that Jacobs put on a catwalk. That’s because for all the hullabaloo surrounding Vuitton’s ready-to-wear shows, clothes were but a micro-dot amid all the luggage and wallets that generate Vuitton’s multi-billion Euro annual turnover. Most of what Jacobs designed never even got produced. That major source of discontentment is now behind him. “We’ve really got it together,” he says. “Most of what you see in the show makes it to our key stores”.
That should please fans – as much as it distresses their fund managers. Vuitton’s ready-to-wear is up there with the costliest. But the craftsmanship is extraordinary. Many of the drop yoked skirts and princess-line dresses in yesterday’s show came with top layers of tulle or a meadow’s worth of sparkling appliqued rosettes.
“The workmanship on our new basket weave bags is insane,” said Jacobs. “It took six hours just to line up the skins on one coat”.
Don’t ask him prices. “I never know. I just make it to the best of our ability. I’m so proud of the teams we’ve got here. When I arrived at Vuitton 14 years ago there was no ready-to-wear studio. We built it from scratch. I couldn’t do any of this without them”.
Aha! We were under strict instructions from the Vuitton press officers not to mention Christian Dior to Jacobs. Rumours about him taking over from John Galliano have reached a point of delirium during the past month. Team Vuitton fervently hopes they won’t lose their ringmaster. Jacobs refuses to discuss it, although he conceded that his past few shows had become increasingly spectacular – so he’d rise to Dior’s tradition of extravaganzas. But if he does transfer (and his boss, Bernard Arnault, who also owns Dior, is said to be keen) he seems to be sending out signals that he’ll be doing it on his terms – and possibly keeping his team.

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