Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The News -

World head­lines were al­ready on Rio de Janeiro, the city of the 2016 Olympics, and the con­tro­ver­sies that came with it. And yet, the global sport­ing event was merely a mo­ment in the great his­tory of this 451-year-old grand me­trop­o­lis land­scaped be­tween the moun­tains and the sea, with the 30-me­tre statue of Christ the Redeemer keep­ing watch on some 6 mil­lion car­i­o­cas from the peak of the Cor­co­v­ado. To­day, Rio is a modern par­adise, a pow­er­ful BRIC na­tion that bal­ances pre­car­i­ously on the precipice of dy­namism and dan­ger, of beau­ti­ful peo­ple with su­per­hu­man bod­ies run­ning-sun­ning-jump­ing that glo­ri­ous sandy stretch from Ipanema to Copaca­bana, a multi-eth­nic di­ver­sity set in this ur­ban-meets-ru­ral jun­gle, all set to a samba beat. The scene had al­ready been set for Louis Vuit­ton’s Cruise ’17 col­lec­tion, but the stage was es­sen­tial to spec. For Ni­co­las Gh­esquière, the avant-garde creative di­rec­tor who has been push­ing the 162-year-old French lux­ury mai­son into a fash­ion-for­ward, hy­per­con­nected di­men­sion, the des­ti­na­tion func­tioned to frame the ac­tual lo­ca­tion. Architecture ... in­no­va­tion ... “en­vi­ron­men­tal utopia” in­spire Gh­esquière, re­flected in his fash­ion and how he presents it. For Cruise ’17, he dis­cov­ered all these in the Niterói Con­tem­po­rary Art Mu­seum, de­signed by iconic ar­chi­tect Os­car Niemeyer in 1996, re­fur­bished last year and re­opened with the in­ter­na­tional fash­ion event this May. The mon­u­men­tal ed­i­fice is so out­worldly with a wide cylin­dri­cal walk­way lead­ing up to its UFO-like struc­ture hov­er­ing above a re­flec­tive pool (aptly named Boa Vi­agem—“Bon Voy­age”), it could only have been cre­ated by a fel­low fu­tur­ist. And yet, the beau­ti­ful na­ture that sur­rounds it, perched on a cliff by the At­lantic Ocean, open­ing out to the lush Ama­zo­nian green and wide open sky with views of Su­gar­loaf Moun­tain and Gua­n­abara Bay, makes the first point in Gh­esquière’s play on beau­ti­ful para­doxes. “I so ad­mire the power of Os­car Niemeyer’s con­vic­tion. His vi­sion, rad­i­cal­ity, utopia. Be­ing able to show a fash­ion col­lec­tion in such an ar­chi­tec­turally pow­er­ful space is a sen­so­rial ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Gh­esquière. “In Rio de Janeiro, what I saw most of all was an ex­plo­sive en­ergy that lives some­where be­tween mod­ernism and trop­i­cal­ity. I was fas­ci­nated by the con­stant du­al­ity be­tween na­ture and ur­ban­ism, and the pic­to­rial ex­plo­sion it cre­ates.”

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