Kim Jones leaves Louis Vuitton: these are his five landmark collections

Today Louis Vuitton announced the departure of Kim Jones, artistic director of menswear collections. From his first runway show to his collaboration with Supreme, discover five of his most memorable collections.

By Léa Zetlaoui

  •  Discreet yet efficient, from the moment he arrived as head of menswear at Louis Vuitton, Englishman Kim Jones had everyone in agreement. A graduate of Central Saint Martin’s, adored by John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, the former art director at Alfred Dunhill, passionate about photography, skate culture and all counter-cultures, Kim Jones united all the ingredients and caught the eye of giant LVMH. If at the beginning, he worked hand in hand with American designer Marc Jacobs – in charge of womenswear – he quickly became autonomous and started doing his own collections. Along with stylist Alister Mackie, also the creative director at Another Man magazine, he established a most elegant menswear in which he distilled streetwear references with loose-cut trousers, bomber jackets and parkas. As the Parisian house yesterday announced his imminent departure, and before we see his last runway show, we look back at his five most memorable shows.

 Discreet yet efficient, from the moment he arrived as head of menswear at Louis Vuitton, Englishman Kim Jones had everyone in agreement. A graduate of Central Saint Martin’s, adored by John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, the former art director at Alfred Dunhill, passionate about photography, skate culture and all counter-cultures, Kim Jones united all the ingredients and caught the eye of giant LVMH. If at the beginning, he worked hand in hand with American designer Marc Jacobs – in charge of womenswear – he quickly became autonomous and started doing his own collections. Along with stylist Alister Mackie, also the creative director at Another Man magazine, he established a most elegant menswear in which he distilled streetwear references with loose-cut trousers, bomber jackets and parkas. As the Parisian house yesterday announced his imminent departure, and before we see his last runway show, we look back at his five most memorable shows.

Spring-Summer 2012: his first collection, a tribute to Africa

 

Sharing with Louis Vuitton an unquenchable thirst for travel that started in childhood as his hydrologist father crossed the five continents, Kim Jones, named art director for menswear at the Paris house in 2011, delivered an opening collection where the strict grey and blue suits, the polo shirts and black or cream shorts gradually gave way to the most colourful prints in red, blue and purple inspired by the Masai culture and explorer style beige safari jackets. Compared to the explosive Marc Jacobs and his beginnings at Vuitton, Kim Jones hit hard.  

Spring-Summer 2013:  the emergence of sportswear

 

To celebrate 30 years of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the prestigious sailing competition, whose winner can challenge the winner of the America’s Cup, Kim Jones delivered a collection where sportswear completed the men’s line. Hiker’s backpacks, yellow raincoats, long parkas and diving suits… The Vuitton man, always elegant in a leather trench coat and loose-cut suit, could now indulge in various sporting activities… in style.  

Fall-Winter 2015: in the footsteps of Christopher Nemeth

 

Artist, painter and leading designer of the 1980s, Christopher Nemeth brought the rebel spirit of London to life through his androgynous and punk creations, focusing on pieces found at flea markets, a profound interest in fabrics and the use of cords as a sewing thread. Admired by Martin Margiela and Rei Kawakubo, the artist spent the last years of his life with his wife in Japan. In 2015, Kim Jones did a collection celebrating the creations of his mentor and friend: a ‘cord’ motif became an arabesque-style all-over print and featured heavily in the collection.

Spring-Summer 2016: the trip to Asia

 

From the first look – a red and blue bomber jacket embroidered with a white bird – this collection broke away from anything that had happened previously. While typical references to other cultures melted into the cacophony of leather trench coats, suits in fine wool and travel bags, for Spring-Summer 2016, the influences of Asia, and more precisely Japan, China and Indonesia were omnipresent: satin, Chinese embroidery, bright red, dusky pink, royal blue, prints in the style of Japanese paintings and even leather from Kobe cows.

Fall-Winter 2017: Supreme and Fragment Design collaborations

 

A year ago, Louis Vuitton set planet fashion on fire with what is already considered by many as the collaboration of the decade: a collection with cult label Supreme, inspired by New York in the 60s, 70s and 80s. The denim pieces and accessories in fireman red (Supreme’s trademark colour) were completely covered with both brand’s logos. Sold out in Paris within a few hours, this cult collection was being resold for a fortune on the internet. More discreet but just as gorgeous was the collaboration with the label Fragment created by highly esteemed Japanese designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, satisfying Kim Jones’ unwavering passion for Japan. Inspiration was drawn from streetwear, military references and American college wear, for an incredibly edgy black and white collection that established Louis Vuitton as a brand firmly anchored in its era.