PARIS IN THE DESERT: LOUIS VUITTON CRUISE 2016 IN PALM SPRINGS

Louis Vuitton showcases its Cruise 2016 Collection in Palm Springs

When Nicolas Ghesquière, artistic director of legendary French fashion house Louis Vuitton, first laid eyes on the iconic Bob and Delores Hope Estate in Palm Springs, it was from afar during a visit to the desert over 15 years ago, but the image of the spaceship-like structure perched high in the hillside stuck with him. Many years later, he knew that the estate would be the perfect spot for showcasing the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2016 Collection, with Ghesquière citing the architecture as a direct influence on the collection’s designs.

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The 23,000-square-foot estate was designed for the Hopes by famed modernist architect John Lautner, with 10 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms on over six acres of land. The home, completed in 1980, is the largest private residence ever designed by Lautner, and is currently listed for sale. The Hopes entertained frequently, throwing lavish parties on the large covered terrace, which would also serve as the runway for the May 2015 Louis Vuitton fashion show.

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Selecting an architecturally significant setting seemed de rigueur for the Cruise 2016 show season, with Chanel’s collection presented at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea just days before Louis Vuitton’s show, and Raf Simons’s Dior show held the following week at the famed bubble-shaped home of Pierre Cardin, Palais Bulles, located near Cannes.

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Above: Louis Vuitton artistic director, Nicolas Ghesquière

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Journalists, fashion elite, celebrities and the brand’s top clients from around the world descended upon Palm Springs a few days prior to the main event, checking into hotels across the valley and attending a number of events hosted by the fashion house at venues including the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Leonardo DiCaprio-owned Dinah Shore Estate. Invitations, enclosed in Louis Vuitton monogram and leather envelopes, were hand delivered to guests’ rooms, and they also received specially-created sets of products by The Body Deli, a local skin care company whose flagship store sits just across from the Louis Vuitton retail store in Palm Desert.

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Above: Selena Gomez in Louis Vuitton

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Above: Miranda Kerr in Louis Vuitton

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Above: Kanye West

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Above: Catherine Deneuve and Michelle Williams

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Above: Alicia Vikander

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Above: Marisa Tomei

On the day of the show, 60 luxury shuttles transported the 550 guests up to the estate, where they were greeted with Champagne and the opportunity to explore the grounds and lower level of the home. Eight characters clad in mod Louis Vuitton looks with Ziggy Stardust-esque makeup by Pat McGrath looked down from the second floor balcony in the front of the home and later wandered through the crowd of guests. Sounds of the gong used in Paris at the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton then signaled the start of the show, with attendees including Catherine Deneuve, Michelle Williams, Kanye West, Selena Gomez, Marisa Tomei, Alicia Vikander and Miranda Kerr taking their seats on custom-made wood and acrylic boxes arranged in a serpentine pattern around the terrace.

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The models began their walk on the second floor of the home, using a glass-enclosed staircase to reach the runway, where they then snaked through the guests and around the home’s swimming pool. The clothes struck a futuristic-meets-folk vibe, heavy on ornamentation like laser-cut leather, criss-crossing belts, sequins and metal studs. Silhouettes ranging from maxi skirts to hot pants were paired with surprisingly practical desert boots, flip-flops, high-top sneakers and brogues. In keeping with the brand’s mainstay of leather goods, most looks featured bags, including everything from small box-bags and shoulder bags to backpacks and larger handbags. A palm frond motif inspired by the show’s location graced a train case and the brand’s Twist bag.

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After the show, guests headed to the Parker Palm Springs for an after party replete with bumper cars and a full arcade that even featured a claw machine filled with Louis Vuitton wallets and pochettes. Music by Grimes kept the party going late into the evening, joined by surprise guest DJ Tokimonsta. When dancing feet needed a rest, 25 Pierre Paulin sofas awaited – because for a Louis Vuitton fête, not just any old couch will do.

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Above: the after party at the Parker Palm Springs

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Above: bumper cars at the after party

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Above: Grimes in DJ booth at the Parker Palm Springs

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Above and below: claw game machine filled with Louis Vuitton prizes

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Above: arcade at the after party 

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Above: models at the after party

Words by Katy Carrier; Photography by Billy Ferrell

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