Nicolas Ghesquière’s choice of venue for his fourth Louis Vuitton cruise collection looked like a verdant Jurassic World in the heart of Japan: a metal tunnel opening up to a streamlined suspension bridge, surrounded by enough greenery to make a brontosaurus salivate. A partnership between the LVMH conglomerate and a high-tech dinosaur theme park? No, just the front steps of the Miho Museum, a jewel of modern architecture situated outside of Kyoto and thoughtfully selected as the backdrop for Ghesquière’s fiercest cruise collection yet.
The French luxury house’s artistic director has always been influenced by Japan: he channeled the country’s streetwear with asymmetrical cuts and Japanese-inspired prints for his Balenciaga SS11 collection, and his SS16 collection for Louis Vuitton featured jeweled Sailor Moon headbands and ensembles that looked like they came straight out of an anime character’s wardrobe. But he pulled out all the stops this time by collaborating with Kansai Yamamoto, a renowned Japanese designer best known for creating David Bowie’s iconic “Space-Samurai” satin jumpsuit.
Yamamoto was responsible for the eclectic Japanese prints that peppered Ghesquière’s ensembles, and undoubtedly the one who instigated the models’ imposing Kabuki-style makeup. This flair for the dramatic wasn’t lost on the rest of Ghesquière’s tough-as-nails, horse-wrangler-meets-cosmopolitan-samurai collection. We’re startled by the exhilarating overlay of prints and the wide range of materials that the designer took pleasure in juxtaposing against each other (such as a sheer dress underneath a seemingly bullet-laced vest), creating structured hourglass shapes that were equal parts polished and punk.
Unlike Lagerfeld’s Grecian goddesses, Ghesquière’s models wore little jewelry. However, the accessories he did feature added a rebellious touch to the finished look: leather caps styled as samurai helmets, shoulder bags worn like chained sashes and oval neckpieces that look like the badass version of a bib. And on the feet, variations on a pointy-toed cowboy boot that ranged from ranch-resort to space-age. The message is clear: the cookie-cutter tough-girl is over, futuristic samurai-cowgirls are our new baddies.
Recreate Ghesquière’s Japanese-inspired tough girl look for yourself with our selection of Louis Vuitton-inspired pieces:
Cover Image: Vogue.com