With a supersized flower set, Nicolas Ghesquière played with dimension to uncover the toughness of beauty

At the center of the Cour Carrée, on the final day of Paris Fashion Week, Louis Vuitton held its show from a supersized red flower. Erected by French artist Philippe Parreno, the installation touched the sky, with its sail-like petals and golden stamens that reached the rooftops of the surrounding Louvre. The bloom, in all its surreal glory, served as the touchpoint for Nicolas Ghesquière’s latest collection—at least in terms of proportions.

The set felt like a carnival, many showgoers noted, and the clothing was its hall of mirrors. The looks were decidedly playful, featuring bows, wavy fastenings, checkered boots, technical drawstrings, and tubes of fabric coiling dramatically around the models’ necks and hips. The shape of the body was often manipulated, by optical illusion or else by oversized accents: Ghesquière’s massive zipper stole the show, reportedly the largest ever manufactured—but there were also luggage tags, key holders, and wallets expanded far past their typical dimensions. “‘Pretty tough,’ that was something we were talking about, and ‘threatening beauty,’” Ghesquière said to Vogue. “The idea was to look at something pretty, something sweet, and to see in those elements what strength they have.”

The creative director worked closely with Parreno, to develop his garments in conversation with the monumental set. The collection, by consequence, was cohesive and immersive, with the sense of place inherent to any good runway show. “Sometimes I had the feeling [Parreno and I] were a little childish.” said Ghesquière. “I think I was maybe more free to break some boundaries for myself.”