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It’s interesting to contemplate what a fashion reveal is in these accelerating days of social media. Kim Jones teased his new collection on the company Instagram @louisvuitton and on his own @mrkimjones account for days before his show along with, among other previews of the shoes and bags, a note thanking Drake, aka @champagnepapi, for his collaboration. The message was overlaid on a red Hawaiian print. When the audience arrived at the show in the Palais Royal this afternoon, the same prints were being sported all over the crowd, prominently worn by Naomi Campbell and others. So, no, it wasn’t a total and utter surprise to see that the collection had those self-same Hawaiian shirts in it, some veiled in organza, as Naomi was demonstrating in the front row. Nor was it a surprise to learn that the soundtrack was a song inspired by the collection that Drake had written. It had been pre-shared.

Vuitton is having its cake and eating it with its menswear these days. After the global blanket coverage of its collaboration with Supreme last season, there is one company narrative that says “super-fast” engagement with youth, while the other one—the oft-told story of its heirloom quality products—says “slow-slow” and “you must wait to have it.”
The company is lucky to have a designer in Kim Jones, who is able to move Vuitton forward at both of these speeds. In a preview, he talked about the halo success of the last show, but put the Supreme effect down to “the 10 percent.” Though not authorized to specify precisely how company sales figures have been stimulated, he talked about the direct conversations that have been sparked between himself and the new generation of teenagers who are fanatical about fashion in every detail. “I’ve found a lot of kids—16- to 18-year-olds—are researching what I did when I had my own label,” he said. That was quite a while ago, in London, in the early aughts, before fashion reporting documented everything via the Internet. But with their computer skills, these kids can harvest things that even their originators didn’t realize exist.
So Jones—even without a massive celebrity-designer image—is watched and revered as a cult figure. Inside fashion circles, he’s also rated for the deft way he can nail a broad-strokes idea that most men will get—the Hawaiian shirt is okay again, guys!—while also having a super-sophisticated hand with fluid tailoring, convincing proportions, and advanced fabric techniques. In this collection, for instance, there is paper-fine leather made to look like plastic, leather bonded onto neoprene, and rubberized tape used to seal surfer appeal into the many bags, micro to major, that were on accelerating show.