After John Lautner’s Bob Hope House in Palm Spring, Oscar Niemeyer’s Niteroi Museum in Rio de Janeiro, or I. M. Pei’s Miho Museum outside Kyoto, designer Nicolas Ghesquière brang the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 (Resort 2023) show back to California on Thursday night, to the coastal enclave of La Jolla, exactly to the Louis Kahn-designed masterpiece Salk Institute in La Jolla.
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The Brutalist landmark opened in 1963 was designed by vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk and architect Louis Kahn. Salk wanted an open and inviting space that could be adapted to the changing needs of science and Kahn came up with two mirror-image, six-story blocky structures that flank a grand courtyard overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
“The guest of honor for the show is the sun”, Ghesquière said. “The elements are invited”.
“Here, in this place of biomedical research, questions on humanity lie at the forefront of the world’s most illustrious scholars’ minds. Architect Louis Kahn puts the sun, the creator of natural life, at the heart of the Salk Institute, a brutalist from 1965 designed as a serene concrete monastery for enlightened souls. At a specific time of the day, during a blazing sunset, the sun is perfectly framed by building within the precise axis of the central fountain. The combination of the sun rays and shimmering water bathes everything in a golden hue, transforming all it touches into gold”, shares Louis Vuitton in their notes.
This was a collection about playing with those elements, a mix of a desert-natural and water sports-technical wardrobe. The airbrushed colors of half tops and boxy short skirts apparently came from jet skis. There were touches of the ceremonial in the opening goddess robes, one more voluminous than the next, that gave way to more sporty looks, including graphic bomber jackets, cool metallic pants in gold, copper and silver, and lava-like jacquard or reflective sequined tops paired with nomadic-looking draped linen pants. SoCal extras included surf-inspired sneaker boots and an LV Vernis skateboard. At the finish came a trio of jackets with enormous sculpted collars as shiny as armor perched above tinsel sleeves.