Louis Vuitton Resort 2019 French Riviera Collection

View Gallery 21 Photos

Last week Nicolas Ghesquière took to Instagram to announce that he had renewed his Louis Vuitton contract with the hashtag #notgoinganywhere. The news made headlines, which says something about the instability of the fashion industry in 2018.

All is change, with designers coming and going ever quicker, the possible denouement of department stores as we knew them, and the public’s new taste for accumulating luxury experiences, not luxury goods. In the face of all that, Ghesquière’s staying put is something to feel optimistic about. So was today’s Resort show, which was Ghesquière’s fifth for the house, and his freest so far. To look back at his first Resort show, held up the Cote d’Azur in Monaco from this evening’s location at the Fondation Maeght in St. Paul-de-Vence (the Cruise collections are all about #goingsomewhere), is to see how quickly he established his LV codes.

The eclectic tailoring, the zesty color and unexpected embroidery, the treatment of each item of clothing almost like a treasure, or an accessory, which is of course the house patrimony—they were all here and then some, but the accessories are a good place to start. Ghesquière collaborated with his friend, the stylist and former Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington, on a collection of bags based on the sketches she does of her beloved cats and his dog. They’ll be the proverbial catnip to their many followers. This season’s over-the-knee boot/sneaker hybrids are likewise going be popular. An elaboration of the best-selling trainers of Spring ’18, they made the ladylike pumps of the more recent Fall collection look like an anomaly.

The clothes, too, had a cool factor that was vintage Ghesquière: a little bit cult-y, a lotta bit ’80s, with a soupçon of executive realness, and, for good measure, some beaded silk lingerie bits and hand-painted acid-washed denim (an obvious nod to the Maeght’s modern and contemporary art collection). There were celebrities to beat the band in attendance—Emma Stone, Sienna Miller, Jennifer Connelly, Ruth Negga, Laura Harrier—but this was not a collection for the red carpet with its stiff and stultifying rules. Ghesquière said he wanted to pay homage to eccentricity.

“What is it today to be an original, [someone] who has her own way of dressing? This bricolage . . . you can start a real movement. I love those people who are eccentric.” He meant Coddington and her cohort, but with this collection he proved himself more than worthy of the appellation. An aside about luxury experiences: In Ghesquière’s five years at Louis Vuitton, the French maison has gotten quite good at executing them. Of the 600 guests at today’s show, nearly half were clients. Seeing the mega-yacht anchored outside the Hotel du Cap after-party sparked an idea. Louis Vuitton cruises? Louis Vuitton boutique hotels? Surely there’s opportunity there.