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New York is one of the most inspiring cities in the world. At least, it’s one that we see very often, and one that many of us has either visited or wants to in the near future. It is also the starting point for Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2020 collection, which has just been presented at the renewed TWA Flight Center (in a week, it will open as a renewed hotel, after twenty years being unused), designed in 1962 by Eero Saarinen, within the JFK airport.

Nicholas Ghesquière, the maison’s creative director, said that he was “lucky enough to have landed at the TWA Flight Center in the late nineties”, a place that has inspired him and that has served as a unique venue for his newest collection’s presentation. But Ghesquière is known for choosing cooler-than-cool locations when he’s not in Paris – remember when he showed the Cruise 2017 collection in Rio de Janeiro’s Niterói Museum just ahead of the Olympics? Or the following year in Japan’s spectacular Mio Museum? Or last year at Fondation Maeght in the south of France?

The Cruise 2020 collection showcases a very interesting mixture, with influences ranging from the 1960s to the 1990s: short dresses, bubble skirts, combat boots, and batwing sleeves. Some pieces also featured Elizabethan details, and a few models even wore helmet-like headwear that seemed like a mixture between the 1920s and a decade yet to come. But despite these very varied elements, the collection is coherent and has a strong idea behind it: that of dressing up again to travel.

Travelling is embedded in Louis Vuitton’s DNA. His famous trunks and adventurous spirit are core to its heritage and identity. And in the Cruise 2020 collection, this is more present than ever. This time, it is the city of New York that mainly inspires Ghesquière. On some jackets, we could see the city’s famous skyline transposed as bright prints, featuring acid colours resembling the city lights (mainly yellow, orange, coral, and purple). The formality of Wall Street is translated into pinstripe suits and shirts, very tailored and sharp. The city’s overall feeling of dash and dynamism is translated into bold and colourful lines and stripes. Even the Chrysler building sneaked into the collection in the form of subtle and elegant prints, embroideries and jacquards (in jackets, jumpers, skirts, and tops) as well as handbags.

Actually, handbags were a big surprise. In addition to the Chrysler building’s crown-inspired bags, there were a few even more striking because they featured canvas video screens on their sides. Called the ‘canvas of the future’, Vuitton’s futuristic handbags include flexible screens made of Amoled technology (the same found in some smartphones), which during the runway show, displayed retro-futuristic urban imagery. A very special way to continue the maison’s love for bridging the part with the future, as he’s done previously several times. 

Arnau Salvadó

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