Behind Louis Vuitton’s Fall/ Winter 2015 men’s collection was a spirit, a form of grace – the luminous poetry of Christopher Nemeth. The painter, illustrator and fashion designer, who died in 2010 at the age of 51, and for whom needle and thread were like paint and brush, remains an icon of British fashion, the epitome of London’s restless, rebellious energy. Kim Jones, an admirer of Nemeth since his teens, was lucky enough to meet him and always dreamed of working with him. The man himself may no longer be with us, but Kim Jones’ vibrant homage brought him back to life, with Nemeth’s signature rope motif reproduced on crew-neck sweaters and duffle coats.
In the recession-hit, “no future” Britain of the 1980s, Christopher Nemeth started out designing clothes for himself. He deconstructed tailored suits, then reassembled them, leaving behind evidence of the process: for him, an exposed needle and thread laid bare his art. “Fashion,” explains Kim Jones, “is a snapshot of society. Hard times throw up new challenges, you have to push the boundaries. That is what Nemeth did.” It is what Kim Jones does too by, for example, fusing the art of cutting with cutting-edge technology. The result is a simple, elegant silhouette, with the added poetry of the sinuous lines of rope, as well as emotionally charged details such as the buttons and safety pins favored by Nemeth.