Taking place as the sun sets at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, a 30-minute drive north from San Diego, Louis Vuitton’s cruise 2023 show was “a moment suspended in time” in the words of artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s womenswear, Nicolas Ghesquière. It’s no coincidence that Ghesquière selected such a specific place and time to present his collection, for the site is a place of serenity and reflection inspired by monasteries and artistic retreats.
When juxtaposed against its backdrop, a sleek, tranquil building designed by Louis Kahn, Ghesquière’s cruise collection is charged with energy and rich in dualities: sun worship and sun protection; nature and technology; function and form.
“It’s another image of California. It’s as if the sun has found its frame; it plays with the building’s perspective and its rays culminate in the linear fountainhead, the vanishing point where the water seems to turn to liquid gold,” explains Ghesquière. “When I saw its strange harmony, everything clicked. I wanted the clothes to be like reflections, a point of contact between light and people. The guest of honour in this show is the sun.”
With that, the cruise 2023 collection comes to life in the radiant light of the West Coast, which illuminates Ghesquière’s array of shimmering silhouettes and metallic palette. Opening the show were hieratic dresses in cocoon silhouettes, conjuring up images of mythical oracles in ruched robes and metallic jacquard that set the tone for the collection. Long swathes of frayed tweed slung across the body and bundled around the head à la Zendaya from Dune followed suit, with some styled over tops and mini-skirts festooned with silver paillettes. As Ghesquière puts it, “The first part of the show is based on the desert and how to protect oneself from the sun.”
As for the most unforgettable ensembles from the collection? Pieces that look straight out of a sci-fi movie: armour-like tops and bottoms in boxy silhouettes that boast metallic-on-metallic pairings and bright hues.
There are also prints inspired by jet skis, the sea, technical elements from the nautical life that blend with the sand, the rugged cliffs—it makes for beautiful images,” Ghesquière adds. “The contrast between technology and the earth.”
In fact, this duality could often be found encapsulated in several ensembles—for instance, a diaphanous white parka alongside opaque, embellished black trousers; or an iridescent blue skirt mimicking the hard texture of fish scales that is softened with the pairing of futuristic gloves and a tweed turban. Yet, the most striking looks in the collection are the simplest—a bionic, full-silver outfit featuring a cropped tank top and voluminous trousers, topped off with a chromatic blazer jacket.
For a dichotomous collection that followed the sun’s journey from the sky to the sea, characterised by a colour palette that spanned the prism of metallic hues, Ghesquière’s presentation for cruise 2023 could not have been more felicitous with its apt closing track, ‘Never Turn Your Back on Mother Nature’.
Styling Marie-Amelie Sauvé
Models Lauren Wasser, Masha Skokova, Samile Bermannelli