In 2020, one thing is certain — cruise collections are not the same. Typically taking place in late May, the presentations were pushed weeks (and, for some, months) this year due to COVID-19. It's not just the timing that's new — the context that these shows depend upon has completely evolved, too. Our new reality, barred from journeys to far-off, paradisiacal places, has considerably subverted the show's raison d'être for the foreseeable future. Nicolas Ghesquière, Artistic Director of LV's womenswear, knew that — so, he built his line into, and out of, the world of a sole object: a deck of cards. The Louis Vuitton Women's Cruise 2021 Collection is a bastion of playful escapism — one that you don't have to go anywhere for.
The "Game On" collection is, according to the show notes, all about the "stationary journey," which dually refers to the deck as an inanimate object and its paper properties. As explored by Ghesquière, the generations-old game has played companion to thousands upon thousands of travelers over time, dating as far back as the 9th century. On the other hand, it provides an escape without needing to go anywhere. The cards' ornate design, bold colors and recognizable motifs all were a strong alignment for Louis Vuitton's energized aesthetic, providing the perfect bedrock for its brand codes to take root in.
The collection is rife with the spirit of whimsy and escapism — fanned-out decks as shoulder bags, minidresses with colossal spades, and Speedy bags flanked by playing cards. The accessories are evocative of some of the novelty bags seen in Jonathan Anderson's LOEWE (elephant and dolphin bags, in every size and color-way) and Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel (flamingo pink livesavers and patent leather milk cartons). Stripes are rendered on every scale — pastel, candy-striped suit jackets alternate with floor-length frocks emblazoned with thick, ace-shaped bands. Overall, the "GAME ON" collection is a reminder not to take oneself too seriously, and that adventure can be anywhere, so long as you are willing to find it.
For Ghesquière, this collection was all about reconnecting with his creative inspirations. "I looked somewhere that has been calling out to me for a long time, somewhere I hadn’t taken the time to go back to," he said in the show notes. Just last week, Ghesquière's counterpart in menswear, Virgil Abloh, unveiled his Spring/Summer 2021 "collection" for Louis Vuitton, which was also infused travel as a principle theme, as translated through Abloh's childlike imagination. Overall, both lines were the embodiment of LV's escapist roots and always-spirited approach to fashion.