Luxury goods companies have staged Pre-Fall shows this season with the sort of enthusiasm and expenditures until now reserved only for Resort. Chanel installed itself at the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli took his pre-collection all the way to Tokyo, and Coach descended on Shanghai. Of course, the social media impressions were ginormous.
Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière, whose Resort show was held at the South of France’s Fondation Maeght last May, hasn’t put on a Pre-Fall show per se, but what he’s pulled off is just as major: a lookbook shoot lensed by his frequent collaborator, Collier Schorr, starring the likes of Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Connelly, Ruth Negga, and Laura Harrier. Fashion and Hollywood have long had a reciprocal relationship, but this shoot—conducted in New York over two days shortly before Christmas in what Ghesquière described as a tour de force of logistics—makes the synergies explicit. The cast includes 17 performers of one kind or another, most of whom are regulars in his front row. Oscar winners and nominees were photographed along with newcomers like Kelsey Asbille, Indya Moore, and Urassaya Sperbund.
On a phone call from Paris, Ghesquière explained the impetus behind the all-star casting this way: “The more I work, the more it’s about their response for me. It’s inspiring to see the second life of the clothes. For an ‘in-between’ collection, for which we don’t do a runway show, I thought it would be great to have their point of view.” The designer and his longtime stylist, Marie-Amélie Sauvé, worked to put together looks that the women “felt were right for them.” Léa Seydoux wears a siren-y floral-print sheath with a plunging V-neckline; Kelela layers a plaid blanket jacket over a floral dress over contrasting floral pants; Doona Bae models an oversize checked sweater and animal-print skirt. The majority of the women carry handbags, what Ghesquière called “inversions” of styles previously seen on the runway.
Without a formal show, Pre-Fall is Ghesquière’s opportunity to dig into items that performed well in the recent past and ideas that bear further exploration. The wedge-heeled boots, for example, are an elaboration of the best-selling Archlight sneaker he showed for Spring 2018 and very nearly as weightless. Zhong Chuxi wears a great-looking navy peacoat with the raglan shoulders and rounded sleeves of Ghesquière’s Spring 2019 outing. But it would be a mistake to say that this is a collection of basics, certainly not the way the items are put together, with clashing prints and offhand pairings, most often homey plaids and slick animal graphics.
The juxtaposition of the rustic with the very urban is something new for Ghesquière, who has always had a sci-fi, futuristic bent. He even mentioned the Amish as a reference point. Though Vikander’s and Chloë Grace Moretz’s calico and lace dresses are far from humble, something of the frontier woman comes through in their belted silhouettes. “This vision of American culture, the pioneer—I love that this is exotic for us. It’s not reflected in French culture,” said the designer. There’s a timely synergy of a different kind to that. In May, Ghesquière is bringing his Louis Vuitton Cruise collection to New York. It’ll be the first time he’s put on a show stateside since 2002, a fashion eon ago, when he was the newcomer at Balenciaga.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com