Jaden Smith models Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2023 womenswear in a newly-released commercial, blithely dancing away in a leather blouse
Jaden Smith in a Louis Vuitton leather halter top. Screen shot: Louis Vuitton/Instagram
We know Jaden Smith dares to dress. For him, there is no gender boundaries when it comes to fashion. To be sure, he doesn’t look like Billy Porter. Mr Smith is less dramatic when it comes to his sartorial choices. But, he is not one whose style is circumscribed by conventions of masculine dress. To him, clothes know gender not, such as the halter top that he wore in the latest Louis Vuitton commercial, just shared by the label on Instagram. According to LV, the 24-year-old “transcends style codes” and “embodies the essence of the collection”. This refers, we assume, to the work of Nicolas Ghesquire. It does not require the taxing of one’s imagination to discern what Mr Smith wore to be from the womenswear line. While we are not quite fans of such a sleeveless blouse, we will say that Mr Smith does not look bad in it. Maybe it’s to do with the leather. Would it be the same if it was in floral silk chiffon?
The halter top is one of those garments that, to us, is associated with a form of rather aggressive sexiness. Many (if they are old enough) also think of Halston, although the halter-neck itself emerged in the ’30s and was usually designed on gowns. A decade later, they were popular in swim and beach wear. And their return in the ’70s, especially for day clothes, sealed the halter neck’s future as a must for warm-weather dressing. The halter top gives prominence to bare shoulders, which could be the silhouette’s infinite appeal. And if it’s tied behind the neck, the top exposes the back, which has its own particular lure. But although the halter neck has mostly been adopted by women, it has a fan base among men too, even—believe you us—Jackie Chan (陈龙). Back in the ’80s, Mr Chan was photographed twice in different white halter tops—one with a high, near-mock-turtle-neck (and a perceivable bare back), the other with a deeply scooped neck. While many do no consider Mr Chan a style icon, there are now those who consider his clothing choices back then “rocking”.
Jaden Smith’s halter top is different from what guys used to wear and have been wearing. It is tented and swings like a baby doll dress. Is that why the ad has been attracting surprisingly nasty comments in LV’s Instagram page, directed solely at the star when there are other models in the commercial too? Mr Smith teamed the top with a pair of straight-legged trousers, and the clunky kicks Archlight, now a version 2. We remember that the original Archlight, released in 2018, was for women; we checked at the store back then, and the helpful salesgirl said “guys are welcome to buy if the size fits.” The latest Archlight, to our surprise, is available in men’s sizes even when it is listed in the brand’s website under Women’s Shoes. LV staffers have often said to us that many men buy the women’s line. We have seen it for ourselves in Tokyo. But does this mean that the men’s collection, soon to be designed by Pharrell Williams, could be cannibalised by the women’s? Or, perhaps this is just spreading the love?