Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2022 show just made marching bands chic
Drumroll please! Nicolas Ghesquière’s collection was just as remarkable as its monumental location.
All images courtesy of Louis Vuitton
Are you, too, suffering from a serious bout of cabin fever? While we may not be jet-setting quite as much as we would like to by now, rest assured, fashion is here to transport you. Yes, the ‘Cruise 2022’ shows are upon us. Usually, this is the time of year when luxury’s biggest hitters ferry their courtiers to exotic locales for decadent displays of clothes designed for warm-weather getaways in the winter months. The very idea of Cruise, as a seasonal concept, now seems as old school as, well, literal cruises. But the point is that the cruise shows offer an opportunity to relocate the vision of a house outside of the usual fashion capitals, and go big on a theme. It’s no small feat for designers — these collections are gargantuan.
Louis Vuitton just staged its Cruise 2022 show at Axe Majeur. Located just outside Paris, the venue is a monumental 3.2-kilometre urban landscape designed by artist Dani Karavan and the Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill in 1980. A location like that requires the kind of fashion that can match its grandeur, and Nicolas Ghesquière’s collection didn’t disappoint.
“One needs nothing more than the most beautiful of passports: creation,” read the show notes of the collection. “An optimistic company akin to luminous ‘marching bands’ of joyful color. A collection of proud, positive looks that advance straight ahead, serenely.” The result was a very colourful, very eclectic parade of clothes that displayed Nicolas’ greatest strength: taking ostensibly disparate ideas and splicing them together to create a sort of post-Postmodernist vision. Here, almost digitally-enhanced clothes spoke to the hyper-real, Small-Screen-Big-Tech reality we’re all plugged into.
The colours looked acrylic at times, almost like Lego (remember those Balenciaga shoes from 2007?). The textures, meanwhile, were a constant juxtaposition of synthetic and uber-luxe: patent leather, silk-twill tailoring, bouncy puffs of neoprene, decadent jacquard, tinsley faux fur striped with marabou. The silhouettes time-travelled from Space-Age to Tokyo Drift at supersonic speed. In many ways, every look was as layered as a millefeuille: blazers worn over vinyl pants, boxer shorts under chainmail dresses.
Every single item in the show — whether it was a patchwork bomber, ballooned dress, caped blouse or a pair of those kickass-pointed boots — could be taken in isolation, worn with a simple white T-shirt and still have just as much impact. Nothing was basic. Every garment and accessory counted for something. Ultimately, as purse-strings tighten this year, it’s a whole lot of bang for your buck.
Besides, fashion is about experimentation. The true test of a great designer is whether they can make utterly absurd ideas translate as irresistibly compelling. Something about this collection reiterated Nicolas' place in the rarefied echelons of fashion’s true auteurs. Marching Band jackets + leather biker trousers + Space Age cowboy boots? Frilly lame bustiers + metallic-knit cardigans + button-down skirts with swinging crotch chains? It shouldn’t work… and yet it does! Such is the alchemical talent of Nicolas Ghesquière. Whether you love it immediately or are perplexed at first, you’re going to be besotted eventually — and will definitely be in years to come.