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Louis Vuitton takes Menswear to a new Level

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London, United Kingdom.

Original story on BOF – Business of Fashion written by BY ROBIN MELLERY-PRATT

In his four years at Louis Vuitton, designer Kim Jones has firmly established the Parisian megabrand as a global menswear player with a casual luxury aesthetic. “Things that people can wear off duty or on duty, feel smart, feel like that they’ve got something special on, that’s really important. I think that’s where the future is in menswear,” he explained .

The 35-year-old designer, who takes one of the briefest bows in the business and generally eschews the limelight despite a high profile group of friends, is unfailingly polite — but confesses that he is tired. An impromptu flower fight took place in his hotel room at 5 am last night, between his ex-housemate, singer Lily Allen, and Brit actor Douglas Booth, which was followed by a full day’s work. “Most of my day was taken up with Nile Rodgers because he’s doing the music for the show — and I’m quite fussy about it,” he admits.

Jones has a highly demanding work schedule. “It’s long days and I do a lot of my work at home because we have meetings all the time, so I’ll go home and have dinner and then start work again. I normally finish work at about two in the morning and then I come to work and it’s just meetings all day — that’s just how it is.”

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Since he began his four-year tenure at Louis Vuitton in 2011, Jones has presented customers with cashmere bomber jackets in muted blues and their silken Spring/Summer counterparts, recast in vibrant pinks and oranges, both priced at around $2000. Then there were the leather varsity jackets with branded badges sewn on for pop-emphasis, that hung next to easy tailored suits, priced at around $2500, as well as jeans, tees, raincoats, shirting, shoes, sunglasses and leather goods.

Market sources estimate the business currently generates about $200 million in revenue per year from their menswear.

In 2002, upon finishing the fashion MA programme at London’s Central Saint Martins, his entire graduate collection was bought by John Galliano as well as being widely acclaimed for its avant garde streetwear aesthetic. “I travel a lot and I go to all the markets and I see how people buy. It’s just funny, looking at everything and seeing how ‘streety’ it has become, because that’s where I started out. I was kind of a bit before my time, I guess, in that element.”

Although Vuitton had begun producing menswear collections in 2005, first under Marc Jacobs and then under Paul Helbers, who took over for the Spring/Summer 2007 season, the house had failed to forge a lasting identity for its menswear — until Jones’ appointment in 2011. “When I actually left college, one of the first things I did was go to Paris and I did some prints for the head of the men’s studio at the time for Vuitton. I thought, wow this is amazing; I’d love to do this. And then ten years after I graduated, I got the job. I think it was the perfect time to go there.”


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