Louis Vuitton Menswear S/S12

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Louis Vuitton S/S12
Louis Vuitton S/S12Illustrations by Tom Baxter

For our inaugural menswear fashion equation, we focus on Kim Jones' debut collection for Louis Vuitton. Jones took his inspiration from heroic artist Peter Beard, the traditional dress of the Masai people and a shooting stick...

For AnOther's inaugural menswear fashion equation, we focus on Kim Jones' debut collection for Louis Vuitton. For spring/summer 2012, Jones, the house's Style Director under the Artistic Direction of Marc Jacobs, said the collection was, “at its simplest level, about the idea of travel and what it means at this point in time. After all, travel forms the foundation of the Vuitton brand. At the same time, the collection is looking at the idea of a personal journey. It forms the notion of a coming-of-age through exploration and travel.”

One of the iconic elements of the collection, was the use of the traditional red blanket – for ponchos and the check used for prints on shirts and shorts. Not dissimilar to what we associate with the British picnic, the reference Jones (who grew up in Kenya) made was the clothing worn by Masai people, a Nolotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Known as Matavuvale, the clothing is usually bright red and includes sheets worn wrapped around the body, one over each shoulder, then a third over the top of them. "There was something very elegant about combining African textiles with very traditional Prince of Wales suiting", said AnOther Man's Alister Mackie, and stylist of the show. There were also other nods to their traditional dress – the simple strap sandals and the woven red and blue leather thong accessories, frequently adorned with mother of pearl inlaid beetle pendants.

With travel in mind, functionality was also a key part of the design, particularly the accessories – models sported chic quilted rucksacks with patent monogrammed fronts, utilitarian mix and match belts, a suede parka comes with a pac-a-mac bag and there were also flat-pac sandals. With a reference to heritage, one of the most striking accessories was a luxurious foldable chair, known traditionally as a shooting stick, worn for LV over the shoulder of a safari clad gent. The luggage acknowledged the house's archives, featuring the classic "V" logo originally featured on the steamer bag of Gaston-Louis Vuitton, one of the Maison’s very own iconic world travellers (see the bag here, posted on AnOther Loves earlier this year).

One of key references was the work of Peter Beard, photographer, artist, diarist and writer of East Africa and its wildlife.  “He is a hero of mine,” said Jones. “This is a nod to him and a fictionalised imagining of that period of travel to Africa in the sixties and seventies. At the same time I grew up in Africa and it is a subject I frequently return to. It is also about how men live their lives, travel and reach maturity now with a practical view of what they want to wear.” Beard's work typically comes in the format of a collage, a medley of images and writings. The collection was split into sections, from "varsity" (with the iconic Harrington jacket, the club ties and badged sweaters) to "night life" (with dinner suits and pajama pants worn with an alligator café racer jacket), and successfully blended a myriad of inspirations resulting in a memorable collection perfect for the modern man.

The latest issue of Another Man features a story on the S/S12 collection, photographed in a Africa by Alasdair McLellan and styled by Alister Mackie, with text by Jo-Ann Furniss.

The next Fashion Equation will be published in two weeks.

Laura Bradley is the Commissioning Editor of AnOther and published her first series of Fashion Equations in May 2008.
Tom Baxter is an illustrator currently living and working in London.