Louis Vuitton: Cruise 2017
Oscar Niemeyer once said that the curves of his concrete building were intended to mimic “the curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman.” So, Brazil and booty combined to inspire buildings like, say, the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, used as the backdrop to Nicolas Ghesquiere’s 2017 Cruise show for Louis Vuitton. It’s the third time Ghesquiere has taken his audience on a jaunt across the world – and it feels more fitting for Vuitton than, possibly, any other brand. Louis Vuitton was, after all, founded as a trunk maker (Monsieur Louis Vuitton was also luggage packer to Empress Eugenie, as well as making the trunks) so wanderlust is key to Vuitton’s make-up.
So that’s why we were in Rio de Janeiro, watching girls from Ipanema (and America, and Australia, and Argentina in there case of opening model Mica Arganaraz) walk by. Brazil itself was the inspiration for Ghesquiere, following a trip around the country last year. A visit to the Sao Paulo museum of modern art surrendered works by key Brazilian artists commissioned in the sixties by the French company Rhodia in order to promote synthetic fabrics. France meeting Brazil – just what Vuitton wanted to do. “For me, the main question was how to incorporate into my collection all these elements that are part of Brazilian culture, without forgetting that I am just a visitor who brings his own Parisian and French cultural references,” said Ghesquiere, echoing the aim of the sixties synthetics co.
This show was about a fusing of superlative French craftsmanship with some of the hot colour (and hot bodies) so indigenous to Ipanema, and the surrounding city. “Here in Brazil, especially in Rio, the city and nature are really close to each other,” commented Ghesquiere backstage, dabbing a bit of perspiration off his forehead (he was wearing leather, like many of his models. “It’s really inspiring. I love urban clothes, clothes that wear in the city.” There was a sense of sports to these clothes – fitting for a city currently seized by Olympic hysteria, gearing up for the launch of the 2016 games in less than three months. The sports seemed watery, as waves crashed against the beach below Niemeyer’s museum and models unsalted in a serpentine, sea-swell-y circle out of the UFO-ish building and around an audience of five hundred appreciative press, celebrities and Brazilian clients eager to buy.
What will they be buying? Brief cut-out dresses – apparently layered two-by-two in the opening section, looking like neoprene but actually more practically constructed in stretch jersey. They’ll be buying billowing parks and knitted capes, and maybe short, ruched dresses or gathered tops strung through with drawstrings to pucker into peplums, above covetable skinny trousers and low-heeled boots. And, of course, they’ll be buying plenty of bags – combining bright bi-colour variations of Vuitton’s signature Epi leather with graphic Damier checks, layered and twisted like one of those Niemeyer buildings, albeit a handheld version. There was evena variation on a Petite Malle that wound up half-a-metre wide – call it a Maxi-Malle – tricked out as a modern Ghetto Blaster in acid hues of leather. “The boom-box!” declared Ghesquiere, laughing. “A simple homage to Brazil, how important music is to Brazil, tools that are making music, and movement,” he mused. “Plus, I grew up with a boom-box! And they are actually real boom-boxes,” he added.
Sign us up for the waiting list now.