STRESA, Italy — Louis Vuitton valiantly battled pounding rain on an Italian island paradise while presenting its cruise collection, the weather sending celebrity guests underneath umbrellas and dampening a hairdo or two.
But when you’re the flagship brand within the powerhouse LVMH portfolio, with a guest list that includes Catherine Deneuve, Cate Blanchett and Emma Stone, what’s a little rain?
Bad weather was likely not top of mind when the storied luxury label led by Nicolas Ghesquiere chose the tiny Isola Bella, a jewel of an island in the azure waters of Lake Maggiore, as an appropriately jaw-dropping venue for its Cruise 2024 collection.
But the rain arrived nonetheless, forcing the show originally planned for the island’s formal terraced gardens to take place within the baroque Palazzo Borromeo, still owned by the family of the same name whose noble ancestry dates to the 13th century.
“It’s the one thing Nicolas can’t control, is the weather,” the editor-in-chief of Vogue Thailand, Ford Laosuksri, told AFP after the show, as guests lingered to sip bubbly while hoping (in vain) for the rain to stop.
Laosuksri was wearing a crocheted floral top and sandals — an endearing if not foolhardy gesture amid the steady rain.
“I didn’t want to ruin my velvet shoes,” he confided.
Ghesquiere, Louis Vuitton’s artistic director since 2013, sent models through the ornate, high-ceilinged rooms of the 17th-century palazzo in eclectic, futuristic creations for which he is celebrated.
Some looks recalled scuba gear adorned with avant garde ruffling, while others felt like fencers’ uniforms, protective with thick quilting over the chest.
Fabric was cinched tight like an accordion at the bodice of a sleeveless dress with colour blocks in royal blue and yellow gold, imparting texture and movement, while a shiny black dress came with a drawstring neckline that called to mind a popular handbag by the brand.
Sweaters became more airy with a translucent stripe at the midriff, while three chiffon gowns cut on the bias — in dusty pink, sea green and baby blue — sported exaggerated puffy sleeves worthy of the Edwardian age.
“It was beautiful, it was flowy but still powerful,” said Philippine actress Heart Evangelista.
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