Louis Vuitton closed first audience-free Paris fashion week in Louvre

Catwalk setting for luxury brand is in intimate Michelangelo sculpture galleries. Paris fashion show will go down in fashion history not for a trend or a hemline, but for being the first to take place entirely without live audiences.

Louis Vuitton, which began as a luggage brand and is steeped in the glamour of jet-set travel, has a vested interest in the reopening of international borders. But the ban on audience did have a silver lining for Nicolas Ghesquière, who has the luxury of staging his catwalk in the Louvre each season, Louis Vuitton being one of the museum’s most generous donors.


Without guests to accommodate, he was upgraded from a temporary marquee to the more intimate setting of the Michelangelo sculpture galleries. “In December I went to the Louvre and they showed me three locations, including this beautiful gallery which is usually too small to do a show and which will be under restoration for the next two years. I thought, OK, I can do something special.”

The film fitted the mood music of the week, which has been of a fashion industry confident that it is about to reap the benefits of a year of pent-up energy. The show opened with a hoodie – but in lemon organza, the hood embroidered with a crown of sequins, worn over a tulle skirt in sky blue. There was slick leather, sharp tailoring and even a drop-waisted, roaring 20s flapper-silhouette dress in silver.

A year in which loungewear has become a new normal poses a challenge to Ghesquière, who brought sneakers, bright colours and technical fabrics into fashion as a way to shake up the catwalk. “Comfort is not something we associate with beautiful fashion, but now my clothes are padded and soft as well as being highly decorative. There has always been an idea of armour in fashion – but now that we are wearing masks in real life, the role of fashion is different. It is about feeling well, feeling protected.”