The Louis Vuitton Cruise Was a Celebration of Eccentric Personal Style

Think boudoir cowboy meets gladiator power suits.

Sometimes my job feels rather surreal. Last night at the Louis Vuitton Cruise show it literally was. As I walked through the gates to the Fondation Maeght—a private art foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence that houses works from Marc Chagall, Miró and Alexander Calder—it was a fantastical scene. Even the music—a live performance from WOODKID—was dreamy. (The lyrical abstract sounds were coming from instruments made from glass rods and metals that French sculptor Francois Baschet and his brother Bernard created in the ’50s.)

Before entering the main building, I stopped to take photos of Alexander Calder’s angular, abstract sculpture entitled Reinforcements. It was an apt reference for Nicolas Ghesquière’s fifth cruise collection for LV. The designer—whose contract was just renewed for five years—brought a new sense of whimsy to the house. This included the added “reinforcement” or collaboration with Grace Coddington. The pair created a capsule collection of accessories that blended the LV monogram with Coddington’s signature sketches of her cats Pumpkin and Blanket, as well as Ghesquière’s dog, Léon.

Coddington said that she and the designer share a love for animals and that she hoped the collection would make everyone smile. The designer told WWD that he was drawn to the former Vogue creative director’s quirky persona. “This cruise show is about eccentricity for me,” he said. “It’s about how an individual can have her own proper style and can start a movement.”

Aside from these “catnip” pieces, which will be in stores in October, Ghesquière brought his own quirky take on personal style from his thigh-high Archlight sneaker boots to his Gladiator-like ruffled vests. Intended or not, the layered pieces on the skirts and jackets as well as the split-sleeves echoed the roofline of the adjacent building designed by architect Josep Lluís Sert.

As a counterpoint to the streetwear vibe—think sequined bombers and acid-washed hand-painted denim jackets—there were embroidered and beaded lingerie-like shifts and shorts. To complete this imaginative fashion mashup, Ghesquière added pleated diaphanous gowns and feathered tops. He later told the press that this is what he imagined an eccentric girl would wear. “It’s something exotic and we can’t explain where it’s coming from.” Perhaps Ghesquière—like the other surrealist artists in this setting—gave his unconscious mind creative license to imagine his own abstract, swirling and dreamy creations.

The runway show, which took place in an outdoor labyrinth filled with Joan Miró sculptures, ended minutes before the first rain drops fell. The crowd of A-listers like Emma Stone, Sienna Miller, Jennifer Connelly, Ruth Negga, Laura Harrier and K-Pop sensation Sehun were then whisked away to join the other 600+ guests at an afterparty at Hotel du Cap-Eden Roc. The Ruinart was flowing while DJ Mark Ronson packed the dance floor.

Like I said, it was a surreal kind of day.