Design, Fashion, Games, Geek Culture, Gender, Technology

Final Fantasy Meets Louis Vuitton in Recent Collaboration

In another geek culture meets high-end fashion moment, Louis Vuitton recently unveiled the latest from their Spring-Summer 2016 collection which features Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII.

Popping up all over Twitter with the hastag #LVSERIES4, the series is a collaboration between Nicolas Ghesquière, current creative director for Louis Vuitton; Square Enix, the developer of Final Fantasy; and Tetsuya Nomura, the designer of Lightning. As a part of Louis Vuitton’s larger campaign for Spring-Summer 2016, the series is conceptual and intrigued with the melding of past, future, and present (much like the Costume Institute’s Spring 2016 exhibition that articulates this vision in a much clearer way).

The campaign features a series of three videos that show off the collection. The central theme of these videos is “the multifaceted heroine.” The first video is a collaboration between Ghesquière, Nomura, and Square Enix that features Lightning stoically cutting through the air with her Louis Vuitton handbags and clunky shoes which have yet to reach their fashion zenith (unfortunately).

The video also features music by Keiichiro Shibuya who created digital pop star phenomenon Hatsune Miku. Admittedly, Nomura and Shibuya add some cred to the mash-up.

The other two videos are a Miami sky scene by Juergen Teller and Mark Lebon that features the real life counterpart to Lightning: model Fernanda Ly. Opposed to the dreamy quality of Teller and Lebon’s video is Bruce Weber’s street scene featuring a series of models and Jaden Smith. The big deal about this particular video is that Jaden Smith is wearing a skirt.

However, this isn’t the first time that Smith has worn a skirt. The collaborators have cited Smith as an influence because he represents “stylistic freedom.” While somewhat hilarious coming from a high end fashion designer who create handbags that everyone aims to rip off, I do appreciate a guy in a skirt for a women’s fashion collection, even if the female models seem to be fulfilling the typical role of supporting cast to Smith’s edginess.

Ghesquière has more to say about the collection and its video-game  heroine:

​“It’s clear that the virtual aesthetic of video games is predominant in this collection. If we push the reflection about heroines, or what might constitute the nature of a woman whose actions can be so courageous that she becomes superior and iconic, it becomes obvious that a virtual entity integrates with the founding principles of the Maison. Lightning is the perfect avatar for a global, heroic woman and for a world where social networks and communications are now seamlessly woven into our life. She is also the symbol of new pictorial processes. How can you create an image that goes beyond the classic principles of photography and design? Lightning heralds a new era of expression.”

If you didn’t understand a word of that, don’t worry, that’s just the typical sort of nonsense creative directors and designers release with the premier of their latest collections. And while the words aren’t there, the intriguing images of Lightning and Jaden Smith are.

Even Lightning, a fictional character, has some things to say about this campaign:

“My clothes were nothing more than armor to stay alive; ‘dressing up’ was a concept I’ve never had. Perhaps that makes me an unseemly choice as ambassador…but this experience has opened my eyes. Fashion isn’t something you’re taught or given; it comes from your own taste and your own choices. It displays the essence of who you are to those around you. It makes me feel excited, a feeling similar to when I venture to unknown lands.”

It’s all a bit too of the rhetoric: choice is uncomplicated and exists in a vacuum, but seeing typical “low-brow” geek culture influencing high-end fashion and the lovely Jaden Smith wearing skirts is enough to pique my interest.