Text by Francesca Fontanesi

The new Louis Vuitton Cruise 25 combines neutral looks and sartorial outfits with bold accessories like gaucho hats and cycling sunglasses. Within the walls of Park Güell, Spanish inspirations infuse the runway with theatrical touches that amplify the silhouettes.

Park Güell is enchanting, a fantasy for visitors, and the privileged location for Louis Vuitton‘s Cruise 25. Ghesquière continues his architectural pilgrimage in Barcelona, inviting us to rediscover the immense artistic heritage of Antoni Gaudí, a singular genius who revolutionized history by embracing Modernism and, above all, doing what he wanted with materials: undulating corners, edges, and columns, making his structures alive organisms. The collection is characterized by a parade of tailored looks, mostly neutral, accessorized with gaucho hats in straw and felt, and mirrored cycling glasses. A striking series of black outfits starts with a leather jumpsuit; the outfits are accompanied by Flamenca and Sevillian capes, while the oversized hats make the lines even more theatrical. Dresses in sand, beige, and earth tones pair with picador-inspired pants and large stoles, matched with fringed leather ankle boots. Inside the Hypostyle Hall, large and airy volumes for the blue, red, and green taffeta skirts make the dresses post-modern. Nicolas Ghesquière highlights that the first and third outfits were modeled on the traditional sailors’ vareuse, with inspiration evident in the wide collars on the models, expanded with maxi shoulders and inverted triangle shapes borrowed from the 1980s silhouettes. However, in the end, the severity of jupe tailleur and tulip dresses was replaced by the voluptuous drapes of silk skirts and pants, whose chiaroscuro folds nod to the greatest Spanish designers. As an interlude, equestrian touches like shiny riding boots and flared pants with faux fur cuffs, polka dots, and ruffles.

“What particularly intrigued me is this oxymoron of austere grandeur that one perceives in this country. The chivalrous spirit. The Moorish influences. And more precisely Zurbarán, for the fantastic colors, the marvelous drapery, this chiaroscuro, this very luminous black”.

– Nicholas Ghèsquiere

Spanish culture merges with Western style, converging in footwear in a flurry of fringes in the same neutral tones on dresses and jackets, but it’s even more evident in the use of the double fanny pack. The boots are hybrids between the knight and the santiag knee-highs that actively participate in shaping the silhouette, while the slingbacks are adorned with flashy straps. Among the bags—some familiar and some new that echo the columns of the location—there are also some net bags, a subliminal homage to Paco Rabanne, the Spanish couturier. Ghesquière’s new collection owes a debt to Gaudí only insofar as it draws inspiration from various Spanish figures: the infantas of Diego Velázquez have been modernized with air bubble shapes, the ruffles subtly reference flamenco, and the peasant dresses reminiscent of shirt dresses harken back to traditional Catalan clothing. Among the hundreds of guests who attended the show, one name in particular provided the public and fashion professionals with more than just a hint of what was to come: Ricardo Bofill occupied one of the seats designed by James Chinlund to complete the Hypostyle Hall envisioned by Gaudí, where the collection paraded. An invitation that might seem anecdotal but is far from it, considering that the work of his father, an architect among architects, was one of the main inspirations for this collection by Nicolas Ghesquière: a journey through local culture and aesthetics, which in this case directly draws from Barcelona’s architectural heritage, with architectural references ranging from Bofill to the Modernist influence. This time, the Maison’s rigorous spirit embraces the country’s passionate character: the fervor of its colors, the fidelity of tradition elevated to artistic expression, that chiaroscuro that never appears contradictory.

“It’s a utopia, something I always appreciate. It reconciles nature and urban planning. Gaudí is a world unto himself, a singular and captivating perspective, and above all, the unique way in which an architect has shaped the personality of a city”.

– Nicholas Ghèsquiere


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