How to make a resort show stick?
For Nicolas Ghesquière, venue has always been a powerful tool. Throughout his stint designing Louis Vuitton’s womenswear, he has sought out architectural marvels to frame his cruise collections: the winding ramp of Oscar Neimeyer’s Niteròi Contemporary Art Museum near Rio de Janeiro, the domed roof of John Lautner’s Hope Residence in Palm Springs, the quadrantal cylinder windows of the Fondation Maeght in St. Paul-de-Vence.
With destination shows (that can cost upward of $20 million) back in the luxury playbook after a pandemic hiatus and the ever-crucial US market a key focus, Ghesquière chose the Louis I. Kahn-designed Salk Institute of Biological Studies in La Jolla, California for his latest outing.
The venue is a stunning construction with two rows of concrete laboratories split by a water garden that slices right down the centre of the marble-floored campus, all overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A place like this makes the trip worthwhile for a crowd mostly made up of monogram-covered clients, but also editors, influencers and celebrities, including Lea Seydoux and Ana de Armas.
Of course, spectacular destinations can overshadow the clothes, but this time Ghesquière delivered. Complex and textural, the collection was anything but typical resort garb. Instead, his pack of sci-fi druids in puffed-up jacquard gowns, armours of geometric paillettes and squishy clompers were true to the work he has been doing at Louis Vuitton for nearly nine years.
“It’s good to own what you did before,” he said.