Nicolas Ghesquiere shows Louis Vuitton Cruise collection: Nothing lazy in first show as mix of technique and dazzling textile elevate simple inspiration
The pint-sized principality of Monaco is currently registering with uncharacteristic impact on many radars. For most, the Nicole Kidman film Grace of Monaco – premiered earlier this week a little way down the coast in Cannes – is throwing the world's second-smallest country into the international spotlight.
The fashion industry, however, couldn't care less about that. Their attention is on Monaco because on Saturday evening Nicolas Ghesquiere showed his second collection for Louis Vuitton. The season he showed is Cruise – sometimes dubbed “Resort” or simply “Pre”. The latter may be short but it is, arguably, the most accurate description for these collections, designed and presented between the traditional spring/summer and autumn/winter axes of the fashion world. Originally, Cruise provided simple attire for wealthy clients holidaying during the winter months – in effect, “prequels” or “previews” to upcoming spring/summer wares.
Cruise, Resort, Pre, whatever. These collections are now big business – hence the fact Louis Vuitton flew an assortment of press and celebrities to Monaco. This was not only Ghesquiere's first Cruise show, but the first Louis Vuitton has ever staged. Its previous creative director, Marc Jacobs, didn't even design that range – it was handled by Louis Vuitton's former head of womenswear Julie de Libran, who incidentally was this week named Creative Director of the house of Sonia Rykiel.
So why have Louis Vuitton elected to show Cruise? Because these “pre-collections” are best-sellers. “Cruise is our most important collection,” stated Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton's CEO, over lunch beforehand. Then he corrected himself. “It's everybody's biggest collection.” Looks from Nicolas Ghesquiere's Cruise 2015 collection for Louis Vuitton
That goes some way to justifying the amount evidently lavished by Vuitton on their show: erecting a custom-built glass cube in a square shadowed by the Monégasque palace. It also explains the fact that Louis Vuitton's is the third extravagantly-staged presentations in the past fortnight by Raf Simons for Dior and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
However, as the show started, a motorised curtain unfurled around the venue, blocking out the palace square's wedding-cake architecture. We could have been in any city – Paris, perhaps – seeing a collection staged during the biannual fashion weeks that constitute fashion's own version of that Monaco institution, the Formula One.
What statement was Nicolas Ghesquiere – one of the few designers worth listening to in international fashion - trying to make? Maybe that, although Cruise is fashion's favourite cash cow, it's no excuse for lazy design.
There was nothing lazy about Ghesquiere's Vuitton show, evident immediately as the models took turns around slalom catwalk bends atop a film by French video artist Ange Leccia of water undulating over pebbles. There was very little that felt Cruise either – besides that film, and the obvious subterranean subtexts to skirts with designs that resembled seaweed, puckered at the waist so they seemed to ebb and flow around the limbs. Looks from Nicolas Ghesquiere's Cruise 2015 collection for Louis Vuitton
Ghesquiere frequently drew on the extreme sports styles of surfing and scuba in his collections for Balenciaga (he designed the label from 1997 until 2012). Here, dresses were colour-banded like wetsuits and fastened with thick industrial zips, with portholes opening onto skin. In less skilled hands, those would have been funny, punny, “Cruise” at its most literal. Ghesquiere's mix of technique and dazzling textile (inlaid silks, custom woven lace, crusted embroideries like barnacles or sea urchins) elevated the simple inspiration.
In fact, it elevated this “pre” season as a whole. Ghesquiere didn't show “Cruise”. He showed fashion – fashion with the painstaking hallmarks of an aesthetic that has lead the industry for almost twenty years, and continues to do so. In short, Ghesquiere showed us how Cruise should – and no doubt will – be done.
Life & Style blogs
Google Maps Pacman: company offers chance to play arcade classic on streets around the world
Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
The Clove Club: The restaurant where you will pre-pay for your food
Apple Watch: What is it good for?
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...