Louis Vuitton Cruise First

Louis Vuitton Cruise First

At the Louis Vuitton ready to wear show in Paris, Nicolas Ghesquière’s happiness in his new position was evident in both that intimate typed-up note and the beaming expression on his face when he emerged at the end.  At Louis Vuitton’s first cruise show, and Ghesquière’s second for the house, that beam was perhaps broader.

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It’s hard not to be happy though when you’re showing in an environment as picturesque as Monaco.  As the final destination on this merry maison cruise jaunt, we’re in the old school playground of the wealthy – a principality where “cruise” collections, by the very strict definition of that word, are meant to be worn.  Last time I was here, the skies were moody, which happened to suit the swift cruise offerings of Raf Simons at Dior.  This time round, the skies are blue, the sea is sparkling and the light is casting some sort of positive glow on everything.  I spent ten minutes on a sun lounger on a jetty at Monte Carlo Beach Club and that was enough to uplift the spirits.

That reflected in the collection we saw.  It was interesting that even before the show, none of us journalists were treating this as merely a “cruise” collection.  I say merely in the sense that cruise collections, despite their dominance (in terms of time and revenue) on the shop floor, are so often seen as filler, as the in-between stuff that designers churn out for commercial onus as opposed to a bold creative statement.  This was different though.  Yes, it was the first time Louis Vuitton were putting on show for their cruise a collection but more significantly, it was the second time HE was showing.  HE as in Ghesquière.  So grateful are we, fashion followers, to have his design presence back on the map, that anything he outputs is up for scrutiny, devotion and instant lust.

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Ghesquière is fast establishing a language at Louis Vuitton that extends from the subtle invite (no theme – a simple Epi leather envelope with a beautifully calligraphed card and hand-typed note – this time it was from Michael Burke, CEO of Louis Vuitton) to the gleaming silver box like set build flooded with chrome spotlights.  We may have been just outside the gate of the Prince’s Palace  (by invitation from her serene highness, Charlene of Monaco herself) but once inside the purpose built glass box, and once a mechanical curtain closed around us, we could have been anywhere.  Like the Paris ready to wear A/W 14-5 show, we also heard the same strange dripping noise, like a dulled heartbeat – the sound of anticipation perhaps.  That led on to an equally chilling and alluring exclusive remix of the mega-new (that’s probably why it isn’t on the stream on the LV site) Röyksopp/Robyn track “Monument”, architected by Michel Gaubert.

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0E5A7960Imran Amed of BOF here is enjoying the plush seating designed by Pierre Paulin.  Rows of seating were once again closely spaced so the clothes were right next to us as they came down the snaking catwalk.  

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A set of postcards, given to every guest, featuring photographs of rockpools by French artist Ange Leccia were meant to clue us in, as did the A Trip or Voyage photo series, shot by Juergen Teller, juxtaposing the collection with photographs taken around Monaco.  The location did have some subtle link with the clothes but that wasn’t the main hook, as was the case with Raf Simons’ ode to American women at his cruise show in New York.

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juergentellerlvPhotographs by Juergen Teller for Louis Vuitton as part of “A Trip or Voyage” shot on location in Monaco

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0E5A8257An excuse to get out these ye olde Louis Vuitton super wide-legged organza trousers (a bargain from Tokio7) paired with Ryan Storer ear cuff, a Versus top, Simona Vanth shoes and kindly borrowed Louis Vuitton Sofia Coppola bag and jacket.

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Instead of going for a discernible theme or locale, Ghesquière cloaked elevated surface texture and experimental textiles with a language of familiarity.  In the press notes, he talked of an “everyday attire” with a “timeless will”, and that vaguely 60s/70s leaning from A/W 14-5 was still present in this cruise collection.  Furthermore, he mined a tried and tested cruise-appropriate theme, for him and for us – why, as Sebastian the crab put it, under the sea! Ghesquière is no stranger to scuba (Balenciaga S/S 03 remains on my most hunted list) and there’s some revisitation here.  Except everything is sleeker and more refined this time round.  The now superluxe bonded fabrics were shaped into zipper-fronted dresses and gently-flared trouser suits had a wetsuit smoothness.  Coral and seaweed snaked their way up as embroidery on floppy skirts and sea anemone-esque spikes were formed into metal belts and as fringing on the new Petite Malle bags.

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Above the  water, polo shirts had peek-a-boo port holes and freeform floral prints that are meant to be sun drenched also anchored the collection.  Maybe it was the feeling of the sun.  Or the breezy mood that a Cruise collection instantly summons but there was definitely something more sensual about this collection.  Ghesquière seemed in a freer mood to throw some curveballs.  Like scalloped sequins (made to look like pearlescent cut-out leather) on a dress with a smudge of smutty lace and a black patent leather frill hem peeking out from beneath.  A gold lame t-shirt that Sue Barker might have worn at Wimbledon in the 1970s.  A candy pink trouser suit that looks like the model was sewn into it – that’s how good the fit was.  A nod to F1 that’s about to start next week with Grand Prix chequerboard and stripes emblazoned on engineered knitwear.  These were the things that had the inner Ghesquière fangirl punching the air.  Yes yes yes.  More more more.  On the accessories front, Ghesquière also upped the ante.  As the digital water moved (also conceived by Leccia) beneath the models’ feet, we got another Ghesquière-ism – a new reiteration of a gladiator sandal – a boot with criss cross straps going up the legs in an abstracted floral print.  That, along with so many things in the collection will trickle down the fashion chain rapidly.  I unfortunately wasn’t sitting on the side of the runway where the bags could be properly inspected (fun fact: Mr Bernard Arnault always sits on the side of the runway where he can see the all important bags in a Louis Vuitton collection) but from what I could see, candy coloured Petite Malle with rounded-off corners and cross-hatched leather bucket bags were impressive.

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Despite the deliberate cruise nods, this was anything but filler-cruise.  I don’t think Ghesquière is a designer that knows how to do “filler”.  With this cruise show debut, we could see his intent to treat all four collections as beefed up and substantial as one another.  It’s time to move on from the “There’s too many collections, too many clothes!” or “Fashion is too fast!” critiques.  Instead, do as Ghesquière does, accept that pre collections are here to stay and just make every collection count creatively.  Our brains and hearts will be better equipped to handle the upped frequency if the ideas are there.

P.S. I’m not blind to the fact that during Louis Vuitton show, news broke that an epic figure in fashion, Louise Wilson had passed away.  I didn’t want it to be a footnote.  I’m still trying to pen my thoughts down.

P.P.S. Yes, I was incredibly excited that Arsenal also won the FA cup, literally as canapes and cocktails were being served after the show.  A simultaneous fashion and football high within twenty minutes.  Ace.

24 comments

Leave a comment
  1. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after
    browsing through some of the post I realized it’s
    new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be
    book-marking and checking back frequently!

  2. Alice

    2014-05-19 at 7:26 AM

    This is an amazing collection!
    http://fashion-soup.com/

  3. Tantya

    2014-05-19 at 7:55 AM

    wonderful experience and your white bag is so beautiful <3

    nice to know you,
    TNTY
    http://cintntysr.blogspot.com/

  4. Dominique

    2014-05-19 at 7:58 AM

    amazing pictures!

    xxx
    http://www.dominiquecandido.com

  5. Francesca

    2014-05-19 at 8:53 AM

    This collection made me happy!

    xo
    http://www.thisisfrancescarose.com

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    2014-05-19 at 10:22 AM

    hello,
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  7. Gaptoothedgirl

    2014-05-19 at 11:24 AM

    Great reportage! I love it!!
    xox, Gap
    http://www.gaptoothedgirl.com

  8. Busola Coutts

    2014-05-19 at 2:57 PM

    Breathtaking collection and an exceptional event. Thanks for the detailed report. You look phenomenal by the way.

    http://www.thefashionstirfry.com

  9. sasa

    2014-05-19 at 3:36 PM

    wow the prints and colors. Love these pictures! 🙂 XO

    http://www.shallwesasa.com

  10. jay

    2014-05-20 at 10:12 AM

    Almost all the big fashion blogs nowadays (including yours unfortunately), talk of such opulence, that lately I’ve been wondering why do I even keep reading. Everything you write about, just seems to get more and more intangible with every post, that neither I, nor anyone I know can relate to. Every outfit post now looks like an editorial of some pretentious magazine, seeing as everything you wear is so ridiculously expensive and unattainable. It’s actually kind of sad, since I still remember the time when that wasn’t the main purpose.

    • stylebubble

      2014-05-20 at 10:26 AM

      I don’t know if you know but at the moment I’m giving up a huge chunk of my time towards writing a book – something that I hope will be more relatable and more connected towards the “roots” of the blog as it were. I’m fortunate that I’ve been given opportunities to cover what is an interesting trail of cruise shows during a time when traditionally not much is going on. At the end of the day, it’s content. I realise how that will appear if you’re just glancing at the blog or my Instagram. I have approached every report though with cultural context and hopefully something more than just “Look at these expensive clothes!”. Yes, these clothes are super rarified and not hugely accessible. But from my perspective, I can at least admire the talent of the likes of Ghesquiere or Simons or talk about Dubai’s cultural background. That’s interesting for anyone interested in fashion…and if you’re not interested in fashion… well, then you’re on the wrong page.

      I am aware though of the content balance. It’s not my intention to want to just talk about super expensive things. But on the other end of the price scale, say in high street brands, what is aesthetically interesting that is going on? I’m waiting for interesting collaborations, interesting developments and ultimately fashion that isn’t just about product and sadly at the other end of the price scale, that’s what it’s increasingly is about – and produced under questionable conditions.

      Not long ago, I urged people to go to Designer Jumble in Westfield London (largely accessible by all accounts if you’re in London) to pick up lovely designer vintage pieces for under £100, the same price as say a Topshop dress. I am price point aware as I’m price point conscious myself (If you knew the make-up of my wardrobe, you’d know that I am a hardcore bargain hunter. Don’t let the designer labels fool you. Discounts, outlets, sample sales, eBay all helps). So where the opportunity arises, I do want to reflect a diversity of price points and label choices. But at the end of the day, it has got to be aesthetically appealing from my perspective.

  11. jay

    2014-05-20 at 10:57 AM

    I AM interested in fashion, which is why I still visit your blog almost daily. But browsing, through nothing more, but the countless images of unattainable clothes, no matter how aesthetically appealing they are, could bore even the world’s most avid fashion lover. The point I was trying to make is, that there doesn’t seem to be anything else besides that, and I actually remember the time when there was. There’s surely something going on in high street brands that could potentially be the subject of one of your posts (Kate Moss x Topshop, M&S profits fall… idk)…but if that isn’t “aesthetically interesting” in your view, then I apologize.

    P.S. I did not actually know you were working on a book. Good luck!

    • stylebubble

      2014-05-20 at 11:12 AM

      It has a lot to do with personal experience though. I tend to blog about what I have experienced. I wasn’t invited to see Kate Moss’s collection for Topshop for instance (probably because I slagged it off in the past). M&S isnt’ a brand I’ve EVER worn for so I can’t really comment. Personal experience is very important to the way I write. I know the things I write about will seem obscure but hopefully as long as there’s depth, at the very least, there will be something to take away from posts. Also I think there are many high street blog specialists that do the job of covering that area far better than I could. I’m just not interested in fashion as pure product anymore, which is what the high street is largely about. There are exceptions. I will be writing about how great Whistles is getting for instance in relation to their growing expansion. I’ll also be talking about the prom dress trade (on sites like ASOS and Topshop) and the idea of dressing up. Graduate fashion is also around the corner but that’s not about accessible fashion – that’s about pure ideas and that’s what I’m ultimately interested in. I can only write about what I am passionate about after all.

      On another note, I’m also increasingly aware of the ramifications of promoting low cost fashion. That’s why i supported Fashion Revolution Day and want to explore more in that area. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the high street and shop regularly there but questions still need to be asked…

    • jay

      2014-05-20 at 11:57 AM

      It doesn’t necessarily have to be high-street, just something a bit more accessible than what you’ve been writing about lately, but I get your point. Thanks for actually taking the time to reply.

    • AF

      2014-05-21 at 12:25 PM

      Accessible is an interesting notion. And relative.

      Re. Susie’s editorials: Just because a piece is designer doesn’t mean it’s unobtainable. I have a Louis Vuitton leopard shirt I bought for £100 on eBay. I recently bought a Celine blazer for £200, on yoox. The combined total of both is less than a number of the Topshop x Kate Moss pieces, while the quality is infinitely higher.

      Susie mixes vintage and designer, high and low. It’s one of the real pleasures of the way she dresses. I feel there is an enormous mix of news on her blog – and if anything, it is skewed towards the new and the exciting, designers I haven’t heard of before.

      I also hate to break it to you, but high street clothes *aren’t* fashion. They’re imitations. This is fashion. This is what gets picked over, masticated, reproduced for the masses. These are the people producing the new ideas and pushing us to places that are brave and new.

      These are the designers that really matter. These are the people you should care about, if you love fashion and not just clothes.

    • Addy

      2015-01-12 at 6:29 AM

      Ya learn sotimheng new everyday. It’s true I guess!

  12. Jason

    2014-05-29 at 10:06 AM

    omg sussie I love your outfit xx

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