Captivating Monaco: Louis Vuittion Cruise Collection 2015

A look from the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection Show. Image GETTY

Nicolas Ghesquiere has done it again. No exclamation point needed, because this collection already has ALL the excitement.

In his second collection for Louis Vuitton, Mr. Ghesquiere again pushes to differentiate himself from the overwhelming shadow of outgoing creative director, Marc Jacobs. This isn’t an easy task- especially when your predecessor is a vanguard in the world of fashion, but Mr. Ghesquiere is quickly proving himself to be the perfect replacement.

Creative director of Louis Vuitton Nicolas Ghesquiere, at the Louis Vuitton 2015 Cruise Show in Monaco. Image GETTY

This is a seminal moment for both the label and its head designer- this is Vuitton’s first ever Cruise Collection Runway show, as well as the first Cruise Collection designed by the brand’s head designer. Marc Jacob never designed the Resort Collections- Julie de Libran, the former head of Vuitton womenswear and new creative director of the house of Sonia Rykel was responsible for all that Cruise glamour.

A look from the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise Show, featuring a subtle version of the coveted “porthole” blouse. Image GETTY

This Collection’s Show sought to re-energize the consumers’ interest in the brand and marks a huge shift in strategy and position for Louis Vuitton. Cruise collections are arguably the most commercially successful productions released by fashion houses worldwide. Micheal Burke, CEO of Louis Vuitton has confirmed this, saying, “Cruise is our most important collection…It’s everybody’s biggest collection.”

Bold accessories from the Louis Vuitton 2015 Cruise Collection print campaign. Image LOUIS VUITTON

Cruise collections are also known as “Resort” or “Pre-” Collections (the latter being the most accurate description), and are presented between the traditional spring/summer and fall/winter productions. Originally, Cruise collections were used by designers to provide wealthy clients with simple attire for holiday wear during the winter months, and were an effective way to showcase previews (or ‘prequels’) of the upcoming spring/summer wares. Therefore, holiday staples like kaftans, light dresses, pants, shorts and sexy summer shoes are mainstays of the Resort runways… which themselves tend to be flirty and luxurious.

A look from the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise Show, featuring two of the collection’s staples- sleek trousers and boldly patterned, banded blouses. Image GETTY

In recent years, Cruise Collections have become the industry’s biggest best-sellers; hence Louis Vuitton’s decision to fly a huge number of press and celebrities to attend the show in Monaco. Online streams also accommodated digital guests, allowing for the perfect opportunity for the brand to present itself outside of the hectic setups of the industry’s traditional Fashion Weeks.

This sleek leather dress resembles a vintage diving-suit, and is one of the standout looks from the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection Show. Image GETTY

By allowing the house of Louis Vuitton to expand it’s horizons beyond conventional margins, the directors are effectively spreading the significance of the brand beyond it’s already huge influence. This Cruise Collection Show was not only an event to push Vuitton’s ready-to-wear line, it was an opportunity to promote the magic and might behind the world’s largest luxury brand, while showcasing the talent of arguably one of the most discussed head designers in the world. Overall, Louis Vuitton pulled off a genius marketing move and did it with perfect flair.

A close up of one of my favourite accessories in Louis Vuitton’s 2015 Cruise Collection, a spindly sea-urchin belt. Image LOUIS VUITTON

Recently, Cruise Collection Shows have taken place in locations away from fashion’s conventional capitals: New York, Paris and Milan. Instead, locations such as Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, the United Arab Emirates have hosted presentations from top houses, and this Louis Vuitton Show in Monaco was no exception to the trend of avant-garde locales. As I said, genius marketing move!

A look from the Louis Vuitton 2015 Cruise Collection lookbook featuring a banded blouse, a lacy cinch-waist skirt and a fringed version of the Petite Malle clutch. Image LOUIS VUITTON

Monaco. The name exudes luxury, power and glam-our (read that in Catherine Deneuve’s voice) like almost no other. A place of celebrity and a holiday lifestyle that few enjoy, but so many strive for. Monaco is also very much in the limelight at this moment as the Cannes film festival is taking place a little way down the coast, and Formula One’s Grand Prix of Monaco is set to take place in a few days in the city-state itself. The world is watching, and Nicolas Ghesquiere with Vuitton, took full advantage of this opportunity.

A look from the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection Show. Notice the playful mix of textures and patterns! Image GETTY

The Show took place in a custom-designed venue within the Palais Princier, and was attended by a star-studded guest list, including none other than the Crown Prince and Princess of Monaco: His Highness Prince Albert and Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene.

Royalty and celebrities were in attendance at the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise show: (from left) actress Zhang Ziyi, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Prince Albert of Monaco, actress Jennifer Connelly, LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault and Helene Arnault. Image PALAIS PRINCIER PRESS RELEASE

The guests were seated in an enormous class cube, specially made for the event and set up in the Palace Square. When the show began, huge motorized curtains unfurled around the venue, blocking out all view of the outside, while models took to the lighted glass catwalk. Drama!!

Inside the cube: a view of the crowd and the runway at the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection show. Image GETTY

Water and the subterranean world were definitely major themes in this collection, beginning with the setup of the aforementioned-glass catwalk, below which a film by French video artist Ange Leccia, showing water flowing over pebbles and rocks was shown. The clothes themselves resembled the movement of water: many were constructed of flowing material, streamlined at the waist while seeming to undulate around the limbs, very much like the ebb and flow of sea waves.

A delicately-patterned dress from the Louis Vuitton 2015 Cruise Collection Show. I love this colour! Image GETTY

From there the theme evolved to include details such as fabrics patterned to resemble seaweed and sea urchins, while frothy lace trimming and beaded patterns brought to mind coral branches and crustaceans. Shirts and jackets were banded in sturdy leather to resemble wetsuits and nautical details such as heavy industrial zippers, large snaps and embroidery-lined “portholes” opening onto bare skin were seen throughout the collection.

One of my favourite looks from the Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection 2015 Show, featuring pink a sea-urchin studded-lace blouse! Image GETTY

Mr. Ghesquiere’s use of varying textures is something to be seen! Sheer fabrics, delicate lacework, intricate knitwear and exquisite embroidery and beadwork were layered with smooth leather, heavily inlaid silks and quilted fabrics.

A look from the Louis Vuitton Cruise Show 2015. Image LA MODA ARABIA

Then there were the prints! Bold, bright and vintage inspired, they are meant to resemble underwater life, mimicking the forms of seaweed, coral, sea blossoms and sea urchins. To me, they recall the fabulous prints used by Emilio Pucci throughout the 1960s and 70s, and of Valentino’s more recent F/w 2014 mod-inspired prints.

Vintage-inspired prints were a big part of Louis Vuitton’s 2015 Cruise Collection, as seen in this graphic trouser suit from the Show. Image GETTY

Combined and executed in his subtle manner, Mr. Ghesquiere sent a diverse collection down the runway. Notable pieces included sleek trouser suits, fussy skirts, embellished blouses, lacy camisoles, deconstructed jackets and long trench coats.

A fabulous trouser suit from the Louis Vuitton 2015 Cruise Show. Image GETTY

Continuing with the flow of the collection, Mr. Ghesquiere showed new trends in the house’s accessories collection, including strappy Wellington-inspired gladiator sandles, patterned espadrilles, ‘Mary-Jane’ heels with oversized button snaps, goggle-inspired sunglasses, pointy flats, sea-urchin belts, a re-worked version of the Petite Malle box clutch and a new version of the bucket bag!

One of the print ads for Louis Vuitton’s 2015 Cruise Collection, featuring a close-up view of the new “bucket” bag. Image LOUIS VUITTON

My favourite items are the banded blouses, the patterned gladiator sandals and bright leather trench coats- oh and the black and white version of the Petite Malle! I also like the “porthole” blouses, especially the sea-weed patterned one! I’m actually thinking its a perfect addition to my wardrobe for a Saint Barth’s weekend regatta!

My favourite things from the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection, including patterned gladiator sandles, the new Petite Malle clutch, goggle-inspired sunglasses and a fitted crocodile trench. Images GETTY

Nicolas Ghesquiere drew upon the same 1970’s silhouettes that dominated his Fall/winter collection and incorporated new elements (such as inlaid textiles, fabulous prints and embellishments) and fresh styling to make this a truly noteworthy Cruise Collection. In less skilled hands, this collection could have been overly kitschy or gimmicky, but Mr. Ghesquiere’s commanding talent and deft control elevated this simple inspiration into something dazzlingly sublime.

A colourful look from the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection Show. Image GETTY

With this show, Louis Vuitton has elevated the whole “Cruise 2014” season entirely. Nicolas Ghesquiere didn’t just show resort wear, he showed fashion resort wear: clothes that incorporate all the elements of traditional prêt-à-porter, combined with the luxurious details of haute couture, and yet are still relaxed enough to be worn whilst on holiday. In short, resort fashion with all the painstaking hallmarks of the very best of the fashion industry.

A look from the 2015 Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection Show. Image GETTY

Nicolas Ghesquiere has shown us how Cruise should and hopefully will be done in future years. No wonder he has been a leading talent in the industry for almost twenty years!

Fiercely done!

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