How NewJeans & ‘Squid Game’ Informed Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2023

If anything, it’s more surprising that it took Louis Vuitton until now to show a mainline womenswear collection in South Korea than it is to actually see Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2023 womenswear runway. The show itself is classic Nicolas Ghesquière, all sport-meets-chic with textural interplay and lots of patterns.

Though the event itself was a testament to the unflappability of Louis Vuitton’s ready-to-wear line — Ghesquière is perhaps one of the most consistent designers in mainline luxury — it was perhaps most notable as the latest tangible milestone for the ubiquity of South Korean entertainment.

Louis Vuitton recruited Squid Game director Hwang Dong-Hyuk, for instance, to stage the Pre-Fall 2023 runway’s scenography, while the Netflix show’s star, Hoyeon Jung, opened the show (“Ever since I started at Louis Vuitton, she’s been a model for the maison” Ghesquière said).

15-year-old Hyein, singer in red-hot K-Pop outfit NewJeans and current Louis Vuitton ambassador, was in attendance alongside American celebrities like Chloë Grace Moretz and Jaden Smith (accompanied by mother Jada Pinkett).

In the Louis Vuitton show’s notes, Ghesquière made a point to emphasize his personal relationship with South Korean entertainment, citing Bong Joon-Ho’s The Host as his favorite film and iconic actress Bae Doona as “a close friend.”

The point he’s seemingly making is that South Korea isn’t merely a trendy hotspot for Louis Vuitton to explore for one show before returning to Paris. Ghesquière, and Louis Vuitton at large, seeks to emphasize an organic relationship with the country.

That LV is doing so by channeling perhaps the most mainstream examples of South Korean culture is simply indicative of the house’s desire to hit a specific niche without losing mass appeal.

South Korea’s entertainment industry is the now. Louis Vuitton aims to be the now. Hence the connections to Squid Game, one of the world’s biggest TV shows, and NewJeans, destined to be one of the world’s biggest bands.

Louis Vuitton made a similar push into South Korea with its Fall/Winter 2021 menswear spin-off show, when Virgil Abloh requisitioned the members of world-dominating K-Pop group BTS to model his latest designs.

“Seoul has such a unique energy,” he said at the time. Ghesquière would undoubtedly agree.

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