Louis Vuitton - New Officer Class
Fri Jan 23, 12:00 PM EST
Godfrey Deeny

Paris – There was a sense seeing Thursday's Louis Vuitton menswear fall 2009 collection, the first by the luxury giant for the masters of the universe since the economic meltdown unleashed, that these clothes were dedicated to the adaptable traveler, but one of somber horizons.

Uniformly dark - ranging from ink to midnight blue - and pretty wrapped up, the collection had a classy, to the body cut, whether shave mink topcoats or sporty nylon spy anoraks with cashmere inserts. The key cut was an 1854 jacket, used in alligator, crocodile, antelope and wool, a French officer's mess coat dating from the year Vuitton opened for business.

The clothes will appeal to a certain international elite that enjoys the anonymity of understated elegance. The choice and cuts of crombies, car coats and puffer jackets was all impressive, and smartly styled. Pants were cut loose, for easy voyaging. The collection reflected the unpredictable times, but was not downbeat.

Vuitton also launched its latest linkup with hip-hop, a Kanye West-designed sneaker. In the program notes West brags notes that he's a "Louis Vuitton don," though there was little Costra Nostra about the footwear, in a show staged in a new north Paris art center.

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