Louis Vuitton's Cruise 2020 Show Transports Guests to New Dimensions
Louis Vuitton Cruise shows have a well-established trope: they are always held in jaw-dropping examples of modernist architecture in various destinations across the world. Niemeyer’s Niteroi Museum in Brazil? Tick. Lautner’s Bob Hope home in California? Tick.
When Louis Vuitton announced that its sixth Cruise show would be held in New York at the recently restored TWA Flight Centre, there was anticipation that the house would deliver an easy, '60s-tinged affair. After all, why hold the show in architect Eero Saarinen’s gently arcing winged masterpiece of modernity, if you weren’t going to riff on the optimistic naiveté of the Jet Age?
But, on Wednesday night, there wasn’t a funky orange jumpsuit in sight. Instead, the mood was far more serious, with looks and choreography that were in stark contrast with the groovy, curved walkways.
Celebrities, VIP clients, and the LVMH top brass including Bernard Arnault himself looked on intently as the models began to emerge from multiple corridors. Some donned capes, evoking Amelia Earhart (or even Ming the Merciless from vintage sci-fi Flash Gordon) while others were animé-like, with dramatic, exaggerated silhouettes and big boots.
One was completely boyish in her dark suit and quiff. All were wearing clothes that were clearly expensive—embroidered, brocaded, bejewelled (to the point that one fashion editor quipped semi-jokingly that the collection might be too pricey to actually produce). As often is the case with Nicolas Ghesquière’s models, they looked as if they had strutted to our world from the future.
The soundtrack began innocently enough, with an English woman’s voice announcing meteorological information like some decades-old BBC transmission, but this soon gave way to menacing swooshes as if engines were flying just above our heads. Operatic voices and discordant glitches created sonic tension. Was this some coded reference to climate change?
As the models criss-crossed the venue, which was adorned with generous vegetation, they stomped with a ferocity that was at odds with the soothing philodendra and calming ferns, but in line with the crackles and crunches coming through the speakers.
Not until the final minutes did the soundscape give way to a soulful vocal loop, the musical equivalent of clouds parting and the sun coming out. It was a moment of release and relief that, once again, established Louis Vuitton and its creative director Ghesquière as the pre-eminent creators of Cruise show experiences.
Later at the after-party, held in Brooklyn’s PS1 art museum and which featured LV-staple Mark Ronson on the turntables, the mood was celebratory. Guests danced to Ronson’s eclectic and deftly mixed selection.
But others couldn’t forget the power of the show that had taken place just an hour or so earlier. The legendary Grace Coddington, herself sporting her collaborative Louis Vuitton pyjama set, responded to the comment that Ghesquière was "one of the best" designers working today. "He is the best," she retorted.
See also: Watch Louis Vuitton's Cruise 2020 Show