Louis Vuitton takes French “art de vivre” to Japan for its new Cruise collection, appropriating inspiration from the Miho Museum’s marriage of extreme modernity with natural surroundings.
Architect IM Pei conceived the building to represent Shangri-La, the mythical heaven on earth thought to be found in a secret Himalayan valley. The fusion of urban and natural that pervades Japan has served Louis Vuitton as a starting point for this collection.
The 2018 cruise collection alternates between the present day and a noble ancestral civilization, between futurism and poetry and between huge, vibrant cities and delicate landscapes.
The garments recall samurai, figurative engraving, inked landscapes, ceremonial dress, the keikogi of martial arts, the Kurosawa cinematic dramaturgy, and the unique melancholy of Kitano. Urban pantsuits and architectural tunics are designed in the spirit of Hokusai. Interwoven jersey and leather sweaters recall the armor of Japanese warriors. Evening dresses gleam with Noh theater gold. Delicately crafted obi belts become the fabric of tapered trousers. Handbags and clutches are decorated with Kabuki masks.
This year’s cruise collection also pays tribute to designer Kansai Yamamoto, who paved the way for an entire generation of Japanese designers by presenting his work in France. Yamamoto is well known for having designed most of David Bowie’s costumes and has now put his talent to creating icons, symbols, and characters for Louis Vuitton bags and accessories. The caps are the work of designer Kristopher Haigh, founder of the 1K brand.
Actresses Rila Fukushima and Doona Bae opened and closed the fashion show.
“I visited the Miho Museum a few years ago and was fascinated by IM Pei’s concept of the harmony between architecture and nature. Japan is a country I know well. It was one of the first places I travelled to when I was seeking inspiration, some twenty years ago, and I’ve been a regular visitor ever since. This collection is the culmination of what Japan has given to me for a very longtime,” designer Nicolas Ghesquiere told the press.