The Maison Louis Vuitton has gone tropical taking the French art of living to Brazil, whose environmental utopia, offers the ideal backdrop. The architect Oscar Niemeyer harmonises the paradox of civilisation versus the natural. After all, doesn’t the word utopia reflect a desire to create innovation? Signifying fantasy , it seamlessly connects with the language of fashion. Brazilian idealism and Rio de Janeiro are the starting point for Cruise 2017. The collection captures the country’s vitality, energy, multi-culturalism, freedom, urban futurism and romanticism — all the dynamic feeling the city inspires.
Dresses with a streamlined spirit illustrate a new aerodynamic silhouette. Slashed stripes on trousers lengthen then silhouette. Luxuriously embroidered skirts appear to have been wrapped in haste, in the manner of a beach towel. Tech-thongs and neoprene sneakers speak of a heroine who is constantly on the move. As she passes through the museum’s curving corridors, heads turn in her wake. Right down to her ghetto-blaster trunk that brings a musical nod to the Maison’s know-how.
The 2017 Cruise collection also pays homage to two major Brazilian artists:
Helio Oiticica was a pioneer of the Neo-Concrete movement and an explorer of space through painting. His three-dimensional works demonstrate a bodily experimentation with colour. Notably, his “clothes of light”, tent canvas and parachute fabric transformed into capes and dresses, become a place where the body can move freely.
Nicolas Ghesquière picks up on the principle of lightness: parkas unfold like kites, while taffeta cape-dresses seem to be anticipating the wind to rise.
Aldemir Martins, an artist renowned for his paintings of flora and fauna, represented the vibrancy of his native region, the Nordeste. Impassioned by Brazilian popular culture, and notably football, he paid tribute to Pelé in one of his most famous paintings, “A Fera” (1969).
During his visit to the Sao Paulo Museum of Art, Nicolas Ghesquière visited the exhibition “Rhodia Collection”, a collection of 79 works commissioned from Brazilian artists in the 60s by the French company Rhodia in order to promote synthetic yarn in that country. The designer reprises Martins’ print from that collection, recasting it on the Maison’s classics.
“I so admire the power of Oscar Niemeyer’s conviction. His vision, his radicality, his utopia even. Being able to show a fashion collection in such an architecturally powerful space is a sensorial experience. In Rio de Janeiro, what I saw most of all was movement and an explosive energy that lives somewhere between modernism and tropicality. I was fascinated by the constant duality between nature and urbanism and the pictorial explosion it creates. For me, the main question was how to incorporate into my collection all these elements that are part of Brazilian culture, without forgetting that I am just a visitor who brings his own Parisian and French cultural references to the moment.” – Nicolas Ghesquière
The Maison Louis Vuitton would particularly like to thank the family of Aldemir Martins and curator Baixo Ribeiro, the Sao Paulo Museum of Art, Adriano Pedrosa and Isabel Teixeira, as well as the Burle Marx Landscape Design Studio.