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For Spring/Summer 2018, Kim Jones took Louis Vuitton island-hopping on a voyage to exotic locales scored by Drake
As befits a Parisian heritage brand anchored in travel, Louis Vuitton's artistic director of menswear Kim Jones is an avid explorer himself. "If I wasn't a fashion designer, I'd perhaps like to be the next David Attenborough", the Central Saint Martins-trained designer, who joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, told Portfolio at the maison's Rue du Pont-Neuf offices yesterday.
Born in London, Jones grew up in Ecuador and Africa and has been intrepid travel ever since. In the lead-up to yesterday's Louis Vuitton show Paris Fashion Week Men's, he read Judith Schalansky's Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I have Not Visited Never Will - only to discover he had already visited most of the faraway locations. "I realised I'd been to about all of them", he said.
For Spring/Summer 2018, Jones found inspiration in the lives of those on secluded islands. "I thought of specific islands - New Zealand, Easter Island and especially Hawaii. But I was also inspired by the idea of an island and of travel, of moving easily from place to place and experiencing these different pockets of civilisation, these different identities simultaneously."
A key inspiration was the US's 50th state. Jones's men's collection features over-sized organza shirts printed with lilies, monkeys and blossoms in full bloom. Bonded leather scuba shorts and parkas, worn over zipped white jumpers, reference Hawaii's tight-knit surfing communities.
Not every island is a verdant patch of paradise, however. The next stop on Jones's voyage was Hong Kong: one of the world's most densely populated areas and a hub of industry and commerce. It inspired soft tailoring, oversized suits and coats, worn with the LV monogram or laced-up clogs.
Of course, Louis Vuitton was established as a trunk-maker in 1856 and more than 150 years later, Jones has outfitted his fellow travellers with backpacks and duffle tote bags. The luggage may have changed, but the spirit of exploration remains.