TUNNEL VISION: Maintaining its recent tradition of spectacular show locations with a powerful architectural bent, Louis Vuitton will set its cruise 2018 presentation on May 14 at the Miho Museum, set amid lush vegetation in the Shiga mountains near the Japanese city of Kyoto.
The museum was designed by I.M. Pei and features a huge tunnel leading to a structure with a steel-and-glass roof and a floor and walls made of a warm beige-colored limestone from France — the same materials the architect used to create the pyramid and reception hall at the Louvre museum in Paris, which was the setting for creative director Nicolas Ghesquière’s fall collection for the brand.
The designer tweeted a teaser photo of the site on Thursday afternoon showing the tunnel and a glimpse of the museum.
“We’ve always made architecture a very integral part of our story,” said Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton. “When I launched cruise when I came here, it had to be exotic, it had to be places that you knew of but that you never went to,” he added. “Japan is a destination that everybody thinks they know, but they all know Tokyo.”
Louis Vuitton said that it has maintained strong ties with Japan since the end of the 19th century, citing the mon, or family crest, emblems that inspired its Monogram canvas; its first store in Tokyo in 1978; collaborations with Japanese artists such as Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama, Rei Kawakubo and Hiroshi Fujiwara, in addition to its many renowned Japanese clients.
Burke said Kyoto was multifaceted, as it is home to Japan’s traditional geisha culture but also houses ultra-modern facilities. “Just the train station is an amazing architectural statement and urbanistic statement. It’s a city on top of the city,” he said.
“It’s modern but exotic and everybody that goes is going to discover something that they really had no idea existed. That’s what the promise of cruise is, and then of course it has to have a design aspect. Nicolas loves Japan, he’s very inspired by Japanese fabrics, by Japanese video games, by how they dress in Harajuku and Shibuya, the audacity of the fashion there and the architecture,” Burke added.
In recent years the designer has taken the collection to Palm Springs and Monaco.
Chanel has said it will stage its cruise show in Paris on May 3, while Dior has set its show for May 11 in Los Angeles.