5 Things To Know About Louis Vuitton Cruise 2020
Nicolas Ghesquière’s sixth cruise show for Louis Vuitton descended upon the Trans World Airlines Flight Center within the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Built in 1962 by the Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen – perhaps most famous for the Gateway Arch, the trademark of St. Louis – the neo-futuristic treasure looks like something out of A Clockwork Orange and made for an ideal backdrop to the trans-historical sci-fi idiosyncracy that characterises Ghesquière’s work. Having undergone major renovations, the centre – which closed for business in 2001 – will reopen as the TWA Hotel on May 15th, giving airport overnighters an opportunity to experience the glamour of the Jet Age: Howard Hughes’ golden age of travel, when passengers dressed up to fly and Atlantic flights were fuelled by champagne and cigarettes in abundance.
“I landed here when it was still open,” Ghesquière said of the TWA Flight Center. “I don’t know if I can say how many years ago now,” he laughed, but suffice to say it was the 1990s. “It was maybe my third trip to New York, so it was about the memory of the emotion of the first uncovering of the city. I think when you first come to New York you have so much to discover; the images are so strong in your mind.” Through his time-travelling eye – from medieval references to futurism – Ghesquière interpreted the stereotypes and trademarks of New York City, from the suit-clad yuppie businessmen and working girls of 1980s to its bedazzled Park Avenue ladies, its vibrant underground youth scenes and of course the all-empowering skyscrapers. The latter transformed into glistening capes and planetary garment structures, while a bag was shaped like the crown of the Chrysler building. “As a French designer showing here, I felt very free to express emotions and even clichés about the city,” Ghesquière said.
There’s always been a superhero quality to the ex-machinal and astrological futurism of Nicolas Ghesquière. Just look at his work for Balenciaga. So, it was only a matter of time before it materialised on his runway. “One of the ideas was Gotham City,” he admitted. “I love the fantasy around New York. The dark side, too. Batman Art Deco.” The Caped Crusader loomed over a number of looks in the collection, but there was an unquestionable homage to Bruce Wayne’s tricot from the 1960s Batman TV series in look two, carried by Rianne van Rompaey.
As cruise experiences tend to go, the show was framed by a curated program for guests in New York, including an opening dinner at Waverly Inn where napkins were embroidered with “I LV NY” hearts and wine glasses embossed with the Louis Vuitton logo. On the morning of the show, a boat with “Louis Vuitton Cruise” splashed across its side ferried guests around the Statue of Liberty, its maritime interiors covered in LV logos, from the crew’s custom-made uniforms to cushions and life rings. After the show at TWA Flight Center, guests made their way to MoMA PS1 in Brooklyn where the party continued until the early hours.
Rather than going by location or cultural influence, Ghesquière selects his cruise show destinations from the architectural masterpieces that inspire him. More specifically, it’s the modernist jewels scattered around the world that draw this designer’s attention, from the Miho Museum in Kyoto to Rio’s Niteròi Contemporary Art Museum, the Bob Hope estate in Palm Springs, and the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence where last summer’s cruise show took place. But Ghesquière’s world tour of fabulous buildings isn’t without cultural significance. By highlighting the corresponding visual language between his global buildings of choice, the designer uses his titanic cruise show platform to connect the world, while tying up his message in the travel-centric legacy of Louis Vuitton.