January 18, 2018.
Well, it actually happened. Kim Jones will be parting ways with Louis Vuitton after 7 successful years. Jones replaced Paul Helbers as Men's Creative Director in 2012 during Marc Jacob's twilight years. At the time, men's Louis Vuitton could only be described as..irrelevant. The women's collections and shows almost always overshadowed and outshined their men's counterpart and rightfully so. Public interest and sales were low to non existent for the men's section.
Then Kim Jones happened.
His debut collection, Spring Summer 2012 was a huge hit in the industry and was just a taste of things to come in the following years.
Jones made two very unlikely worlds collide. Jones, who's father was a geologist, spent his youth travelling across Africa with his family, spending a lot of time in Kenya. He then spent his later teen years in London which massively influenced his early streetwear inspired aesthetic.
Africa, nature, animals, streetwear. Not exactly the typical Louis Vuitton aesthetic. However, Jones managed to find common ground between his personal experiences and Louis Vuitton: travel. Louis Vuitton is first and foremost a travel brand and Jones is an avid traveler, never spending more than a month in his office in Paris, always on the move. African influences, animals, nature, streetwear and most importantly, travel are the loudest influences and sources of inspirations in all of Jones' Vuitton collections.
Most importantly, Jones made men's Louis Vuitton sell.
Jones understood pop culture. Jones' artistic direction turned the men's section into the fastest growing section of the Louis Vuitton brand thanks to key collaborations, connections and stylistic changes. Men's Louis Vuitton is relevant and selling. You can dislike his collections and critique his aesthetic but there is no denying the colossal impact Jones has made on the brand and the industry as a whole.
Not only is men's Louis Vuitton relevant now, it is THE relevant half of the brand.
Thank you Kim!
Some notable runway looks from Jones' collections.