Louis Vuitton chairman and chief executive Michael Burke said the contract of womenswear creative director Nicolas Ghesquière will be renewed next year, speaking in an unplanned moment of candour at the Cruise 2023 show.
Burke was addressing rumours that swirled among an international crowd of guests at the show, a bold showing of leather goods and athletic-inspired footwear that took place on Thursday at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, a seaside bourg near San Diego, California. 51-year-old Ghesquière has led the brand’s womenswear collections since 2013. After the passing of Virgil Abloh last year, for Louis Vuitton’s menswear, it’s still wait-and-see.
In La Jolla, the women’s Cruise collection was noteworthy for its spectacular brutalist locale – the Louis Kahn-designed courtyard of the Salk Institute. Thursday’s show appeared to mark a return to the Before Times. There was nary a mask in sight, and the traditional fashion aloha of the bisou-bisous cheek kiss re-emerged, even among some who had pledged never to bisou again. PETA was back with a small group protesting animal cruelty outside the Salk Institute, bellowing through a bullhorn — though there was no fur in the collection, just leather.
From the looks shown in the collection, it was easy to suss that shoes are a particularly strong business for Vuitton these days, in addition to its ever-present bags. There were a dozen or so versions of easy-to-wear running-style sneakers. Slim knee-high boots in several materials — black leather pocked with large holes, strips of leather cording, and sequinned were likely investment pieces.
At the other end of the spectrum, Mad Max fans may be astounded by punked-out sneakers embellished with large chains and with soles as big as boats that gave the models a rebellious slouchy gait. What with his loin-cloth skirts, Ghesquière will give us what to wear to the apocalypse. And for some time still.
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