Whilst we would usually begin this with a dodgy innuendo about cruising in the forests of Japan, and how that sounds like something that we would really quite like to partake in, we won’t. Because tonight’s (or this morning’s, depending on where you find yourself) location for the house of Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2018 offering did something that really doesn’t happen to us often – namely: left us speechless. Only lasted about 37 seconds, but anyone who’s been lucky enough to be in a confined space with us will know that’s a record. The setting was the Miho Museum, an incredible modernist construction designed by I.M.Pei (he also designed the glass pyramids which sit of the Louvre in Paris, where Nicolas Ghesquière showed the house’s AW17 collection) which stretches across a forested valley just outside of Kyoto, Japan. The centrepiece of that is a bridge that crosses high over the forest, this evening doubling as a catwalk for Monsieur Ghesquière’s show. A show about, as the setting (and the notes) suggested, the interplay “between present day and noble ancestral civilisation, between futurism and poetry, between huge vibrant cities and delicate nature.” So what of the clothes? They were touched by Japan – there was mention of samurai, and ceremonial dress – but those ideas were filtered through Ghesquière’s uncompromising futurism. There were incredible leather jackets, lines sharp, with animal printed collars and cinched waists, worn with long shirting which sat beneath. Architectural tunic tops, studded on the shoulders, or what Mr Ghesquière called his “urban pantsuit” – sleek and lean, the trousers with go-faster stripes. Texture and print masterfully clashed in slices of animal print and inky Japanese landscapes, whilst bags were livened with colourful Kabuki masks. They were based on the work of fashion designers Kansai Yamamota, who famously outfitted David Bowie, and was the first of many Japanese designers who would find their home in Paris. This collection was an ode to Kansai (he sat front row), but also an ode to the country of Japan itself. Many would have been dwarfed by such massive reference points, but Ghesquière’s vision – this futurism that teeters between hard-edged and feminine – still rang clear. But that’s because he’s a genius, is it not?
by Jack Moss