In place of destination shows, artistic director of women’s collections, Nicolas Ghesquière has found a new way to titillate Louis Vuitton lovers by turning landmarks into runways. The maison’s cruise 2022 collection Space Colony, for one, was an electric resurrection of one of Paris’s most striking—if not, best hidden—tourist attractions, ‘L’Axe majeur’.
Conceptualised by the prolific Israeli sculptor Dani Karavan, a 3.2km-long bridge—only one-twelfth of the entire monument—was a fitting runway for Ghesquière’s second audienceless cruise offering of grandeur, modernity and retro-futurism. It was also a symbolic coming together of fashion and art. We have all heard the tireless debate. Is fashion, in fact, art? And art, fashion? In the world of Ghesquière’s Louis Vuitton, it’s a resounding yes, even in outer space.
From maximalist motifs to structured silhouettes, the maison’s mirroring of past-meets-present and earth-meets- extraterrestrial showed up in a few different ways. First was the collection’s generous helping of prints. A continuation from Ghesquière’s admiration of Piero Fornasetti’s animations for autumn/winter 2021, Space Colony saw collaged illustrations lining minidresses and coats, painting a picture of what might be possible in an alternative realm (or in our closets).
On canvases of cobalt blue dresses and milk-white capes were planets, lush green foliage and alien-esque beings; some playing a game of hoop, others in joyful embrace. With a little bit of imagination, it was as though certain pieces were mimicking spaceships preparing for take-off: angular, pointed shoulders on leather jackets; feathered arms on neon sweaters and bell-shaped sleeves on luxurious capes.
Space Odyssey-esque shiny red coats and jacquard bomber jackets were some of the more ‘everyday’ pieces, and breaking things up were military-inspired elements such as epaulettes and cargo trousers. It is Ghesquière’s appetite for detail, however, namely in the form of the collection’s accessories, that took centre stage. The recently introduced Since 1854 line saw a delicate update in muted grey and white and made an appearance on the new Loop bag, Petite Malle and more.
The fan-favourite Coussin also saw updates in colourways such as green, purple, black and white, topped with a detachable chain. In a nod to the noughties were large hobo bags, slouchy, relaxed and practical, ready for adventure at a moment’s notice. The collection’s shoes were showstoppers too. While Ghesquière has been fond of structural kicks over the past few years, this season, pumps, boots and heels were part of the equation.
Helping models traverse down the red-arched runway were mid-leg boots that were equal parts futuristic and Western, and every bit statement-making. With every long stride, they seemed to iterate: “So much universe, so little time”.