Style & Grooming

Island-Hopping at Louis Vuitton

Kim Jones discusses the inspirations behind his S/S18 collection and collaborating with Drake on the show music

  • TextTed Stansfield
  • PhotographyChris Lensz

What does a travelling man wear today? This is the question that’s constantly playing on the mind of Kim Jones, the Artistic Director of Men’s collections at Louis Vuitton and a travelling man himself. Travel is at the heart of what Jones does – having embarked on his first trip abroad at just three months (he went to Ecuador), he strives to see as much of the world as he can and particularly enjoys seeing rare and exotic animals in their natural habitats. Known for drawing on different countries and cultures, this passion of Jones’ has, understandably, fed into his work throughout his career. Travel is also at the centre of Louis Vuitton – the brand, lest we forget, was started with Monsieur Vuitton making trunks in the mid-19th century.

At Louis Vuitton’s S/S18 show this week, styled by Another Man’s Alister Mackie, Jones’s preoccupation with travel was particularly acute. Here, he presented a wardrobe for the “city-island urban traveller” inspired by a book he’d received for Christmas – Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky which. Blurring the line between an atlas and a novel, shines a spotlight on the world’s most isolated islands from Île Amsterdam in the Indian Ocean to Uyedineniya or “Lonely Island” in the Kara Sea. “It’s funny because quite a few of them I’ve actually been to,” he said. “It’s something that interests me – places that are not obvious.” This inspiration came through in tropical prints, which were cut into shirts which were layered: organza on top and printed rayon underneath, giving them an iridescent, jewel-like quality. Hawaiian shell necklaces and rock pendants were also thrown into the mix, along with sporty fabrics such as scuba and neoprene, as well as leather and suede. “It’s lots of things working together and making it feel quite youthful, but it’s still got this classic Vuitton tailoring underpinning,” he said.

“It’s showing a travelling man’s wardrobe, but in a very modern and sporty way which is how people wear clothes now. I think that’s really important,” Jones continued. This sportiness came through in the scuba and the neoprene, yes, but also in the silhouette which represented a continuation from last season’s collection. “I wanted to keep the youthfulness,” he explained, “so we kept the relaxed silhouette with the tailoring. But I wanted to add more sportiness because of the new customers that came to us through Supreme. It brought in a new kind of people, which was quite interesting.” 

The music – Drake’s new song Signs which was premiered at the show – only served to enhance this sense of youthfulness. “I sent him the pictures of the collection and he wrote the lyrics,” said Jones on this collaboration. “We were texting each other – he’s a really nice guy and I asked him if he’d like to do something for the show. I thought it would be nice to integrate him into it.” Aptly, one word that the designer repeatedly used in reference to Louis Vuitton S/S18 is one featured in the chorus of Drake’s song “easy” – and that’s exactly how the collection felt.