GRANDMASTER CLASH

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’?

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents - By JAMIE HUCKBODY

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.

Et voilà!

“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.

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