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A collection between Shogun and manga

November 15 2017

[Click on the image to see the gallery]

Louis Vuitton's 2017 / 18 cruise, which has just arrived in the shop, was decorated with the Miho Museum, an architectural marvel signed Ieoh Ming Pei, one hour from Kyoto. In this greenery, without reference, time stopped the time of a parade. Samurai women, 1970-style bikers, manga and Noh theater characters took possession of the podium. - Isabelle Cerboneschi


To access the Miho Museum, which has been dug out of the rock, one can take a winding road on the side of the mountain or pass through the entrance: a small path that leads to a silver tunnel of science fiction beauty, connected at the museum by a suspension bridge. Could this be the forgotten passage, leading to this extraordinary country of which Tao Yuanming speaks in The Source of Peach Flowers? This prose poem tells the story of a fisherman walking along a river when suddenly he found himself in the middle of a peach forest. Wanting to know more, he went back to the source and discovered a passage leading to a marvelous country. Once back home, the fisherman lost track of the path and no one was ever able to find it ...

It is this timeless decor dug in the middle of an opulent forest, this architecture that unites with nature and where the past fuses with the present, that Nicolas Ghesquière chose to unveil its 2017 / 18 Cruise Collection. A collection in the image of this place elsewhere, which makes bridges between East and West and between times. "Nicolas Ghesquière and I am always looking for a place that makes sense in relation to the values ​​of the house: travel, exoticism, authenticity, craftsmanship, all these classic values, explains Michael Burke, the president and CEO of Louis Vuitton. Nicolas's collection is deeply inspired by the place. Kyoto represents the past but Japan embodies the future. And as Nicolas says it very well it is perhaps the country where one combines at the same time the best the technicality, the future, science fiction and the past. It was the theme of the cruise and that's why Kyoto made sense. "

70 biker jackets in leather marquetry worn on white shirts and mini skirts open the parade. Then followed some brocade dresses, prints featuring Kabuki masks designed by the designer Kansai Yamamoto who had created in the 1970 years the stage costumes of David Bowie era Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust, shirt dresses embroidered with silver at the Kitsukuroi, bowls cracked with gold scars, Obi belts transformed into fabrics, revisited kimonos, Samurai women's shell jackets relieved of their Naginata (their curved saber), a whole wardrobe referring to both the manga culture and the Noh theater. Nicolas Ghesquière transported us to an indefinite elsewhere: far, near, future, past, unreality? He invented a vocabulary, a sort of stylistic Esperanto, borrowing from different cultures certain codes to arrange and rewrite them in his own way. And each piece was a journey in itself.

Why a cruise collection?

I asked Michaël Burke, the president and CEO of Louis Vuitton. Let's open the quotation marks.

"The cruise collection is hybrid. It is the link between the two other seasons, arriving in the store when autumn-winter is already here and is still there when the spring-summer arrives. This is the centerpiece.

When we parade in Paris during the week of ready-to-wear, we have 12 minutes to tell the story of our brand, because we are finally storytellers. Cruise is a way to create a more complete, more powerful, understandable and perennial narration.

It's not a marketing operation, it's exactly the opposite. It is the direct encounter between our customers - 400 guests from all over the world, their dream, their desire - and our creations, our point of view expressed fully over a period of 48 h. This is not just a parade: there is a before, after, friends, meetings that are done. It's a way of life. "