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Louis Vuitton Cruise ’24 was an aquatic dreamscape

Nicolas Ghesquière took over a private Italian island — and filled it with ethereal, high fashion mermaids.
By Grace O’Neill


THERE WAS one question that consumed the population of Stresa, a sleepy, picturesque inlet about an hour and a half out of Milan yesterday: will it rain? Nestled on Lake Maggiore — on the border between Northern Italy and the Swiss Alps — Stresa was brimming with guests of Louis Vuitton. The brand had chosen to unveil their Cruise 2024 collection on Isola Bella, a floating island owned by the aristocratic Borromeo family for more than half a millennia. 

The plan was for creative director Nicolas Ghesquière — an architecture nut whose previous Cruise collections have been staged at the Miho Museum in Kyoto, the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum in Rio, and the Falk Institute in San Diego — to show his latest collection in Isola Bella’s sprawling and perfectly manicured gardens. But an unexpected bout of torrential rain moved proceedings indoors.


Still, there are worse plan B’s than staging a fashion show in a baroque 20-room palazzo, lined with great artworks from the 17th and 18th centuries (a staging of the show was filmed earlier in the day to capture the splendour of the gardens, which was then live-streamed in the evening—these are the pictures you see in this article). Guests were ferried over to the island, including Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Stone, Alicia Vikander and, in a particularly exciting twist, Oprah Winfrey. 

As for the clothes, they were clearly inspired by the venue at which they were unveiled. Opening looks featured Edwardian-style cuffs fashioned out of neoprene and sharply tailored trousers and jackets inspired by wetsuits. Models wore masks custom designed by a Roman atelier that evoked folk tales of mermaids. The collections’ notes revealed Ghesquière’s desire to “give rise to contemporary tales, populated by drifting creatures that abandon aquatic dwellings for the discovery of terrestrial wonders.”


Baroque detailing, like jacquard prints and crystal-embellished capes, were contrasted with Ghesquiere’s signature sporty tailoring. Grand quilted jackets were styled over neoprene bike shorts. Boxing-style shorts were embellished with delicate embroidery. Elsewhere, nautical themes were abundant: cropped jackets with voluminous sleeves and buttons made of oversized gold anchors, military-style jackets, chunky brown leather boots. Mini dresses were made of artfully draped silks that evoked the palazzo’s grand curtains. Sequin-embellished gowns featured frayed hems, giving them a charming “shipwrecked” sensibility. 

The closing looks were a series of architectural gowns in a soft palette of blush, seafoam, and buttercup yellow. Made of a mix of silk, georgette, and organza with structured, hoop-style hemlines, they had the transcendental quality of mermaids brought to life. They were remarkable dresses that looked quite at home among the grand splendour and art-lined walls of palazzo Isola Bella. Come rain or shine, Ghesquière’s designs are nothing short of a delight to behold.

Discover the full collection below.