Paris Menswear July 06

PARIS, July 1, 2006 - Yves Carcelles, the President of Louis Vuitton, is a nice guy, and by his gentle demeanor you'd never guess that he's also a shrewd businessman. But he's responsible for running the most profitable arm of LVMH, all the while guiding it into the future. He's given Marc Jacobs a lot of slack, endured critically disastrous collections, and overlooked the over-the-top style of some of the men's pieces presented in previous seasons. He's done all of this because he knew that Vuitton needed window dressing, a way to make the company look refreshed, energized, and most of all, a way to present its classic line of sacks and bags as new.

In the collection shown on Friday evening in the Petit Palais, it appeared that his gamble has paid off. What passed down the catwalk was a lighter, softer Vuitton, aimed it would seem, at golden boys leaving on vacation to a serene destination. A video was projected onto a screen making it appear as if the models were walking underwater in a swimming pool. White linen jackets, black jeans and silk ties made up a large part of the collection. Some of the medallions and brooches pinned to them looked a little too much. Most men with money, not associated with the Mafiosi, prefer to show present themselves more discreetly.

Still it was a winner of a show. One employee of the Fédération Française de la Couture, who wished not to be identified for fear of retribution, summed it up. "It looks as if Vuitton has finally eclipsed Hermès," they said. "Vuitton's going to be the label of the future."

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