Louis Vuitton Cruise 2025: Celebrating the 80s

Nicolas Ghesquière is keeping us on our toes — with an interval of about a month, he presented two collections at once: first, Pre-fall 2024, and now, Cruise 2025. And, I must say that both of these collections make up a kind of diptych on the subject of “Nicolas Ghesquière at his very best.” Moreover, I would once again repeat what I said a month ago about LV pre-fall 2024 — Louis Vuitton's creative director, who is beginning his second decade in this position, is experiencing a real renaissance.The show was held in Barcelona, in the Hypostyle Room of Antoni Gaudi's Park Güell, and the models walked between columns under the low undulating mosaic arches as if through a fabulous enchanted forest. This comparison is all the more apt because Gaudi's modernism, as we know, is based on the fluidity of natural forms and on the fierceness of natural colors.

Ghesquière names the foremost Spanish surrealist film director Luis Bunuel, the award-winning 2022 film As Bestas by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, and the principal Spanish Old Masters — Velazquez, Goya, and Zurburan — as his references. We would additionally opine that the choice of the venue for the show was equally occasioned by the upcoming America's Cup in Barcelona, of which Vuitton is the main sponsor.

In addition, Ghesquière mentions Paco Rabanne, and fails to mention another Spanish couturier who is no stranger to him. But while the critics compare Ghesquiere’s perfectly painting-like dresses and skirts with the canvases of Velasquez and Surbaran, trying to identify the appropriate paintings for the dresses, in our mind’s eye, we are seeing the Balenciaga y la pintura española exhibition, held in 2019 at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum. There, next to these same Velasquez, Surbaran, and Goya stood the dresses of Balenciaga, so that the spirit of the great Basque purist and futurist hovered over Park Güell. In general, the use of any silk drapery enables us to change the names in this composition virtually at random: replace Velasquez and Surbaran with Titian and Tintoretto, and Ghesquiere with Albert Elbaz and you get the same joy of recognition. For all their inevitability, such comparisons tell us little about fashion design. But if we recall the 1980s, that’s where we’ll find the real clue to the entire collection.

This is Ghesquiere's favourite decade, the time of his early youth, when he was just starting out in fashion design, and came to work as an assistant to Jean-Paul Gaultier, one of the 1980s French fashion’s first and foremost stars. It is a time that, judging by his collections, is etched forever into his heart. Looking at all these fitted knee-length coat dresses, huge rounded shoulders, jackets without collars and others with pointed lapels, as well as the voluminous leather jackets, it is impossible not to think about those yeas. It is equally impossible not to recall the Balenciaga FW 2012 collection, the anthem of the 80th, seen through the eyes of Ghesquière.

But some elements of Ghesquière's aesthetics have changed over the years. There was lace in this collection, specifically black and white lace as a nod to the Spanish mantillas. There were black and white polka dots, typical of the 1980s, but here they look like a nod to the dresses of flamenco dancers. But, most importantly, the very way of organizing every single look has become more eclectic: gaucho hats are combined with snow goggles, while the rather bizarre jumpsuits and skirts are mixed with even more bizarre shoes completely covered with fringe. Surprisingly enough, this deliberate decorative excess, so characteristic of Ghesquiere’s current aesthetics, this eccentric historicism combined with his techno-futurism, creates not disorder and chaos, but harmony and beauty, and very contemporary ones at that, arranged in the most refreshing and non-cliched way. Well, we can say that the tenth anniversary of Nicolas Ghesquière's career at Louis Vuitton was celebrated in the most appropriate fashion.

Courtesy: Louis Vuitton

Text: Elena Stafyeva