For the upper strata of luxury houses, a simple, unassuming fashion party will not do.
Louis Vuitton’s starry Los Angeles opening of its “Series 2” exhibition — a stunning display of brand funds that deconstructs Nicolas Ghesquière’s spring 2015 runway show via a multiroom, multimedia installation — was appropriately far from simple.
For once, the celebrities in attendance, most of them pictured in the images that lined the walls, had something more substantial to say than the canned, insert-designer-name-here responses they usually deliver at such parties.
Jennifer Connelly, a longtime friend of the Vuitton women’s artistic director, was one of the first to arrive, taking the time to explore each of the nine galleries. “I think it’s something like 15 years we’ve been friends. I feel like right now, at Vuitton, with the resources available to him, it’s an even fuller expression of his vision, and it’s really unlocking his creativity,” she said. “One thing that’s special about him is there’s always a tension between opposing forces. You see it in textures, ideas, concepts. There’s such striking opposition and yet it’s so in balance somehow, everything is so well-proportioned,” she said while gazing at a wall covered with images of herself, Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Michelle Williams in the spring collection.
Rosamund Pike, who came to the event with her stylist Ryan Hastings, was enjoying the surreal moment. “I’m just looking at all the ways I could wear this dress that I never thought of before,” she said of her woven leather Vuitton minidress, its various versions posted in front of her.
“It’s lovely and interactive, and you get to see everyone wearing everything,” noted Emilia Clarke, drifting through the room. “I’m an avid gallery-goer, so it’s beautiful to be able to see the whole collection spread out like this. It’s like a museum where you can actually say, ‘I’ll have one of those, and I’ll take it home.’”
“It’s just so cool to see what goes on in Nicolas’ mind,” said Juno Temple, who stood chatting in the lounge area, where the curved sofas from the Cruise show were put to good reuse. “People are loving every second of it.”
Over in the “Backstage” room, Haley Bennett recalled posing for her “Series 2” portrait. “All the women got changed, then we alternated places for Patrick Demarchelier. First Charlotte would go, and there’s the dress she wore hanging over there, then I would go, and there’s the dress I wore. Looking at this is a little bit surreal,” she said, eyeing it appraisingly. “The spirit of the shoot was exactly how I imagined backstage at a fashion show to be. It’s kind of like a very chic and extremely expensive sleepover.”
Ghesquière, who was leading Deneuve and Gainsbourg through the room, said, “This is great to hear because it’s exactly the feeling I’d like people to have, that they can understand a bit of the process of putting those things together. What I love about this is the fact that it’s open to a larger public, and for the ones who are interested, it shows how we do things. It’s like our mood board.” Of the celebs-turned-Vuitton-models, Ghesquière seemed stunned they all turned up to toast the exhibition, “They’re all here! I mean, can you believe Jennifer, Catherine, Charlotte, Michelle? It’s really great.”
Deneuve offered, “I think it’s very interesting, very modern. I love the big panorama by Jean-Paul Goude. It’s simple and unusual at the same time. It’s very much like Nicolas.”
Williams, who returned to Hollywood after spending a year on Broadway in “Cabaret,” was enjoying the spectacle unfolding around her. “The show in Paris was the first fashion show I’d been to in, like, eight years, and I was really stunned by the theatricality of it. So I liked having a little refresher of it in the other room over there,” she said. “I like that this isn’t just about the clothes per se, but an entire creative process.” The actress was so absorbed in thought that she found herself leaning against the life-size Goude fresco that lined that wall. “Ooooh, sorry,” she said sheepishly when a staffer reminded her not to touch the art. “Well, I enjoyed defacing this exhibit. It’s art touching art,” she said of her Vuitton-clad shoulder.