In the South of France for Louis Vuitton’s cruise 2019 show, JAMIE HUCKBODY is witness to Nicolas Ghesquière’s convincing case for crazy-catlady combinations. But the question is, are you ready for ‘snoots’?
Nicolas Ghesquière’s eccentric eclecticism.
“For all the super-kawaii cuteness of those bags, there was a no-nonsense Japanese fierceness to Ghesquière’s vision.”
Imagine,if you will,that you are Nicolas Ghesquière, the 47-year-old artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s women’s collections, tasked with the job of designing the cruise 2019 collection. It’s just one of four ranges you design each year, every one a seemingly impossible task: you have to stay true to the brand’s heritage while somehow ignoring it so you can come up with something new. And remember, whatever you create must feed not only the luxury consumer’s appetite for novelty, but also the insatiable monsters that are social media and retail space.
So what to do? Well, you could throw some handpainted, ’80s-style acid-wash denim into the mix (that should keep the cool kids into the whole ugly/beautiful thing happy); some power-shouldered knitwear; and a bevy of sexy pleated dresses that pay homage to the largely forgotten Art Deco-era designer Mariano Fortuny. Not enough? Then why don’t you add a collaboration with über-stylist Grace Coddington on a series of handbags that feature sketches of her two cats, Blanket and Pumpkin, and your — that is to say Ghesquière’s — dog, Léon? And, because you are fashion’s most dedicated Modernist, you could show it all off at the Fondation Maeght (pronounced Mahhhg) on the Côte d’azur, home to work by some of the contemporary art world’s most famous protagonists since 1964.
“I’ve known this place for 25 years and I love coming here regularly,” Ghesquière said in a pre-show statement.“it has a beautiful family history, a particular story about passionate gallerists who, along with all the artists for whom they were both friends and patrons, invented an extraordinary place for artistic dialogue. It’s an intelligent, beautiful site.a place that has spirit, [where] installations have a special rapport with nature and the seasons.”
No doubt the foundation’s creators, Marguerite and Aimé Maeght, would have approved of what Ghesquière himself called his “unconventional marriages of style” that explore the “eccentric” spirit; just as they probably would have loved the many Coddington-isms: the models with their fizzy (not frizzy) auburn hair, and the extracts from Grace: A Memoir read aloud by the actor and Ghesquière muse Jennifer Connelly to Woodkid’s special soundtrack.
“My collaboration with Nicolas and his team at Louis Vuitton has been so much fun,” Coddington said. “It started with our love for animals — it’s where Nicolas and I really connect beyond fashion.”
But for all the super-kawaii cuteness of those collaborative bags — crazy cat ladies, get ready: they arrive in store this month — there was a no-nonsense Japanese fierceness to Ghesquière’s vision, from the skinny obi belts that purposefully cinched waists to LV’S latest shoe,
“I’m gonna call them ‘snoots’ … They’re a sneaker and boot hybrid.”
an over-the-knee boot that has grown out of S/S 2018’s musthave platform sneakers. “What are you going to call those boots?” my FROW neighbour enquired worriedly in a loud whisper. “I’m gonna call them ‘snoots’,” I replied, wishing that a great big lolz emoji would ring in the air above us.“they’re a sneaker and boot hybrid: a snoot.”
I’m not sure that Monsieur Ghesquière would approve of the latest addition to Huckbody’s Dictionary of Made-up Fashion Words as much as Emma Stone, Sophie Turner and Ruth Negga et al appreciated those ‘snoots’: the celebs grinned and nodded knowingly at them.as for the 180 or SOVIP customers who had sailed/jetted into the South of France on their superyachts/private planes (many of them wearing the 18th century-inspired embroidered frock coats from Louis Vuitton’s S/S 2018 collection), well, they looked more lovingly at Ghesquière’s tuxedo jackets that glittered with beaded flames, and the closing section of unashamedly feminine pieces trimmed with lace and feathers.
“I loved, loved, loved the grey sweatshirt with the silk chiffon feather embroidery,” enthused one client afterwards about Look No. 54. (Sweatshirt cost? $12,900.) “It will look super cool with jeans for day and with skinny black leather pants for evening, non? That’s why we love Nicolas: he always manages to do something so moderne but also so sexy.”
A Louis Vuitton x Grace Coddington cat bag on the cruise 2019 runway. Opposite page: looks from Louis Vuitton cruise 2019.
A bag painted in collaboration with Coddington. Above: makeup artist Pat Mcgrath painted flames on models’ foreheads.
Models walk through artist Joan Miró’s Labyrinth (created between 1961 and 1981), which is dotted with his works. Inset: the flame-embellished tuxedo. Ghesquière during the finale, with Justin Theroux, Jennifer Connelly, Léa Seydoux and Emma Stone in the background.