May 28, 2018
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Louis Vuitton: Cruise 2019 works the magic in the Fondation Maeght

May 28, 2018

They are calling it fashion’s Tour de France, a month-long series of cruise collections set in storied settings and tonight Louis Vuitton staged the third leg – with an experimental yet very wearable collection.

Louis Vuitton Cruise 2019 - Pixelformula

Clearly influenced by the location – the Fondation Maeght with its unique garden of sculptures by artistic legends – Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Anthony Caro and Barbara Hepworth, the collection broke new ground in terms of silhouette, color and attitude.

“Fabulous!” enthused Jennifer Connelly, the designer’s muse, dressed in striped pants and an electric blue baseball jacket with a fresh LV logo. “Fantastic!” said Sienna Miller, attired in a white cocktail with diamond-shaped Louis Vuitton tile.

Both Calder and Miró with their arches and curvilinear statuary echoed in the big voluminous shoulders which, however, never got too out of hand. While the dramatic new legging-meets-sneakers were ideal for walking around the gravel garden in which the show was staged. And you just know they will be huge sellers.

“I first came to this special place 20 years ago. And its unique rapport between one family and the artists they loved and got to come here has always been a huge inspiration,” explained Ghesquière post show, after posing for photos with Ruth Negga and Léa Seydoux.

He also broke new ground with some marvelous feathered jackets worn with mini cocktails and some remarkable jean jackets in the very colors for which the foundation is famous.

“I would say they are very Miami, quite acidic and rather sixties colors, which is when this place was created,” the designer told FashionNetwork.com.

In another novel move, he asked old pal Grace Coddington to create several prints and they featured cats – normal, seeing as the ex Vogue fashion director lives with a half dozen herself.

“We are great friends but she is more a cat person and I am a dog lover,” smiled Ghesquière who moved apartment recently in order to get a garden for his brown Labrador.

All presented with gusto inside the fabulously atmospheric Fondation Maeght – a museum famed for its sight-specific sculpture – where the cast wandered around the Joan Miró labyrinth. Ghesquière loves a twisted runway. Back in 2014, his cast marched on a light box runway, a favorite trick of the designer, in his debut cruise collection for LV in Monaco, an aquatic collection presented on an undulating glass catwalk over a video of pebbled shorelines by artist Ange Leccia.

With Monaco, LV CEO Michael Burke introduced a novel strategy of taking Vuitton cruise on a world tour – with stops in Palm Springs, Rio, Kyoto and now St Paul de Vence.

LV cruise collections are often quite site specific too. The designer’s Rio Cruise show in 2016 referenced Brazilian football imagery in its prints, and his Kyoto show last year included Kabuki makeup, Samurai armor and Kurosawa colors.

Similarly this evening near the Côte d’Azur, one brilliant yellow, white and silver cocktail looked almost lifted from a 1953 wall ceramic by Fernand Léger in the same colors, hanging here on a garden wall.

Three nights ago, Christian Dior opened this week's French cruise tour on Friday with its Diorodero, a rain-drenched Mexican escaramuza-influenced show in the Great Stables of Chantilly. The fashion pack will now move onto Arles, with a Wednesday night Gucci show, to be staged inside an ancient Roman ruin, with, unfortunately, heavy rain forecast.

“It’s funny to see the weather gods in a fight with the lords of luxury,” quipped Eugenia de la Torriente, editor-in-chief of Spanish Vogue. But they kindly kept the rain off until right after this show.

Though the season won’t end there. Koché, the red-hot label of French designer Christelle Kocher, will stage its debut cruise collection in Marseille on Monday June 19, apparently on the deck of a Mediterranean ferry.

This is proving to be a long cruise, or rather Tour de France, seeing as this season's debut cruise runway show was Chanel’s cruise liner epic inside the Grand Palais back on May 3. However, given the remarkable quality of the collections so far, maybe we should call it the Tour de Force.

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