"Fashion’s sleep-deprived hordes stumbled into the blackness of the Louis Vuitton tent on the 28th day of the Fall 2011 collections already barely knowing whether it was day or night. In fact, it was 9:30 a.m., breakfast time in the real world, but there we were, being greeted by lines of uniformed maids proffering trays of vodka shots, champagne, and espresso in a black-marbled faux hotel foyer, with an ornate grilled elevator at its center, at some indeterminate hour of darkness. Disconcerting, sinister, and ever so slightly sleazy under the guise of impeccable formality, Marc Jacobs had already insinuated, in the hospitality alone, that the subtext of this collection was about addictions of various kinds: to hedonistic consumption, luxury, sex, culminating in, at Louis Vuitton, the fetish he posits as “the irrational, inexplicable” desire for the LV handbag.
This time, it was the classic house Lockit bag which was being framed—through obsessive repetition in many materials—as the shape Jacobs’s maids and maitresses were about to train us to want for fall.
But where—dare we ask?—had the idea for the night-porter peaked caps, rubber boots, and stocking-tops, which were sequenced among tailoring and prim white-collared dresses, struck him? Mayfair, it turned out. “I stay at Claridge’s in London,” Jacobs said backstage after a show whose kinkiness formed a continuum with the hobble-skirted strictness of his own collection. “I love it when I see all these exquisite creatures—socialites, maids, hookers—stepping out of the lift all hours of the day and night.” As it happens, one of them might easily have been Kate Moss, who threw her thirtieth birthday party, themed “The Beautiful and the Damned” at Claridge’s a while back—so it completed Jacobs’s casting perfectly when she was the last model to step out of that elevator, smoking, in a pair of cutaway shorts, boots, and a fluffy-shouldered black leather jacket.
To put it mildly, it was all rather a far cry from the wholesome fifties Brigitte Bardot–style collection which was Jacobs’s last widely lauded show for Vuitton. Even when a pretty “conversational-print,” schoolgirlish forties-type dress came out, the cute pose of the model, with both hands behind her back, was actually a result of her wrists being handcuffed together while displaying her particular Lockit.
However queasy that may make many women feel, there is quite another level on which this show should be judged. In the cold light of day, these clothes are, for the most part, no more than noncontroversial, tweaked classics of the kind Jacobs does no matter the season. That goes for the coatdresses and peacoats, which have acquired the curved, ballooning-sleeve formation of this Balenciaga-tilted season, and, occasionally the checks and the big domed buttons, too. The pairs of clinging black latex boots might not be considered normal—but that’s Jacobs, wickedly tongue-in-cheek to the very last gasp." - Sara Mower