Louis Vuitton is heading to a small, storied island in Italy for its cruise show in May — after an important pit stop in Seoul at the end of April to parade its pre-fall collection, WWD has learned.
The luxury powerhouse and Nicolas Ghesquière, its artistic director of women’s collections since 2013, have a history of selecting architectural marvels, some with spectacular gardens, for destination cruise shows. It found both attributes in spades in Isola Bella, a celebrated example of Italian Baroque style that has been owned by the Borromeo family for some four centuries.
According to Vuitton, this marks is the first time that the Borromeo family, headed by Prince Vitaliano XI Borromeo and his wife Marina, have authorized such an event on their lands. In 2004, Isola Bella was the site of Lavinia Borromeo Arese Taverna and John Philip Elkann’s wedding celebration.
The Vuitton show is scheduled for May 24 on the small island located on Lake Maggiore, about 33 kilometers from Milan’s Malpensa airport.
Embellished over centuries, Isola Bella today boasts the Palazzo Borromeo, a 20-room palace furnished in Baroque style and appointed with 130 important Italian paintings.
Meanwhile, the gardens are considered an outstanding example of Italian Baroque style, at the center of which stands the Teatro Massimo, a monument of stepped terraces decorated with obelisks and statues.
Over the years, Ghesquière has staged cruise shows for Vuitton at the groovy Bob Hope Estate by John Lautner in Palm Springs, California; Brazil’s futuristic MAC Niterói by Oscar Niemeyer; Kyoto, Japan’s, Miho Museum by Ieoh Ming Pei; the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence, France, by Josep Lluís Sert, Dani Karavan’s Axe Majeur near Paris, and the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport in New York by Eero Saarinen.
The designer helped kicked off a rush to California for fashion shows last May when he staged Vuitton’s cruise show at the Salk Institute in La Jolla.
Meanwhile, Vuitton’s pre-fall showing in Seoul is scheduled for April 29, with the venue still under wraps.
It marks the first time the brand will stage a fashion show for a pre-fall collection, and it will be the first official event in South Korea attended by Ghesquière.
Dior, which like Vuitton is controlled by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, recently began staging destination fashion shows for its pre-fall collections. Dior’s longtime chief executive officer Pietro Beccari took over the management helm of Vuitton last month and has wasted no time putting more spotlights on its women’s fashion business.
The pre-fall collection will be available in Vuitton stores worldwide from May 19.
Meanwhile, Vuitton’s cruise collection will be delivered to stores in November.
Europe’s big luxury brands have all resumed staging itinerant fashion shows for cruise, with Gucci heading to Seoul, Chanel to Los Angeles, and Max Mara to Stockholm. Dior has yet to announce its destination.