For a brand originally known for its luxurious trunks and travel pieces, it might not come as a surprise that Nicolas Ghesquière selected New York’s TWA Flight Center at JFK airport to host Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2020 show. As the world knows, the French designer loves dramatic set ups, and after Oscar Niemeyer’s Niterói Contemporary Art Museum and I.M.Pei’s Miho Museum in Kyoto, the airport terminal designed in 1962 by Eero Saarinen seemed to be the perfect location for a collection that was all about mixing and matching fabrics, emotions, and inspirations. “I was lucky enough to have landed at the TWA Flight Center in the late nineties. It was something I could never forget,” revealed Ghesquière in his show notes. “This place was forgotten for 20 years, and now has come back to life. It’s an uncommon place that yet is part of American heritage.”
As it was properly stated, the venue might have been forgotten, but all changed last night when stars such as Jennifer Connelly, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams, or Alicia Vikander rubbed shoulders–in Louis Vuitton bien sur–under the magnificent high-ceiling building, covered with red carpet and decorated with more than 2500 plants donated to New York city gardens straight after the show.
Once the airport voice announced the take off of the cruise show, it was evident that the brand was gifting New York more than just greenery. In fact, the entire collection felt like a beautiful homage to the city, done in more obvious or subtle ways. If, on one hand the silhouette of the city was proudly printed on the back of basketball jackets, it was when New York was less in your face that Ghesquière really wowed the crowd. The metallic dresses and tops that seemed to be inspired by the iconic façade of the Chrysler Building are guaranteed best sellers.
While it can be argued that Ghesquière tends to prioritize the masculine side of the Louis Vuitton woman, this time the collection offered the right balance between feminine and masculine. There were biker bombers, black leather, big shoulders, and “don’t mess with me” looks inspired by the 80s–highlighted by Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love make-up style–and also quite feminine designs with waists corseted in velvet and voluminous skirts in rich, stripy fabrics.
Perfect to land in Middle East closets, the glittering party dresses and dramatic collars bejeweled with hundreds of crystals will make the wonders of fashion editors around the globe, and are already the most Instagrammed pieces of the show. Borrowing a famous line from Casablanca, Louis Vuitton might “always have Paris,” but we are loving its takeover of New York.