Louis Vuitton mens design director Paul Helbers described the Autumn /

Winter 2009/10 mens collection he showed in Paris recently as the

traveling wardrobe of an African king. Recession or no, Helbers didn't

stint on suitably luxurious offerings, including pieces in antelope

leather and even a mink coat shaved into Vuittons signature Damier

check. Our favorite item by far however was this ultra-luxe officer's

tunic-style jacket finished in top-grade tan alligator skin with

antiqued gold buttons and epaulettes.

A bit more subtle than Hermes $150,000 alligator pea coat and

Ferragamos $250,000 alligator trench, the Vuitton jacket has not been

priced yet but we'd expect something in the $50,000 - $75,000 range.

The tunic has been an integral part of regimental dress going far back

in military history and today has an air of safari style about it.

Elsewhere at the Vuitton presentation we were taken with the

black-on-black embossed monogram luggage, shown in various styles. On

the runway the alligator jacket was accompanied by a sort of

scaled-down duffel.