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Going Brutalist: Louis Vuitton launches its latest collection at the Salk Institute

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Louis Vuitton, one of fashion’s most revered houses, visited San Diego’s most revered house of architecture Thursday night. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, perched on a cliff overlooking a sparkling Pacific Ocean, was the perfect host, providing an idyllic setting for the French brand to present its Cruise 2023 collection.

While this isn’t the first time the cruise has shown in California, the 2015 Exhibit A: The Show at the Bob and Dolores Hope Estate in Palm Springs was the spectacular beginning of events in San Diego, and what a spectacular beginning it was.

This was the first fashion show held at the Salk Institute, an architectural marvel designed by Louis Kahn. Considered Kahn’s masterpiece, the building was completed in 1965 for virologist and medical researcher Jonas Salk, and it has been hailed for its reverential approach to architectural design, showcasing the symbiotic relationship between the site , light, and space, according to a 2016 Union-Tribune article on Kahn.

Looks from the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 collection, presented at the Salk Institute on Thursday May 12, 2022.

Looks from the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 collection, presented at the Salk Institute on Thursday May 12, 2022.

(Courtesy of Giovanni Gianonni/Louis Vuitton)

On the day of the show, it quickly became clear why Louis Vuitton and Nicolas Ghesquire, the brand’s artistic director of women’s collections, chose the Salk Institute.

Having spent a lot of time in California, I was drawn to the idea of ​​showing there again, Ghesquire said. The Salk Institute has been a place of wonder for me over the years, and the stunning Brutalist architecture of Louis Kahn in this extraordinary setting of the Pacific Ocean and Californian sunset provides me with endless inspiration. It also celebrates intelligence, knowledge and belief in the power of science.

Past venues for the Louis Vuittons Cruise show have spanned the geographic and aesthetic gamut, from Oscar Niemeyer’s MAC in Niteroi, Brazil, to Ieoh Ming Pei’s Miho Museum outside of Kyoto, Japan. But what they all have in common, stunning architecture and design, made this San Diego landmark an obvious and perfect choice.

Gemma Chan and Anna Wintour attend the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 fashion show on May 12, 2022 at the Salk Institute.

Gemma Chan and Anna Wintour attend the Louis Vuittons Cruise 2023 fashion show on May 12, 2022 at the Salk Institute.

(Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Fashion-forward celebrities and everyday people alike entered the courtyard of the Salk Institutes on Thursday and strolled to their assigned seats, gray concrete slabs that gave them unobstructed views of the models, and for almost all , the best view of the evening star: the San Diégo sunset.

As the sun-drenched crowd waited for the collections to arrive on the catwalk, eyes that weren’t glued to Apple Watches or Instagram Stories drifted upwards. In the sky, a drone buzzed loudly overhead, mingling both audibly and visually with the screeching seagulls that had been set up to capture the brutalist backdrop and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Christina Binkley, a longtime Los Angeles-based business and culture journalist who regularly contributes to publications like The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker, wasn’t surprised by the choice of location for the Louis Vuitton Cruise shows.

To (Ghesquire) choose a place, there has to be a moment for the people who are here, and there has to be a big moment for the photography that’s going to be released around the world from this show, Binkley said then. that she marveled at the imposing buildings that surrounded the courtyard. It’s got all these angular, organic (lines) and the ocean is right there, it’s spectacular.

I think it fits the personality of the design (Ghesquires), in terms of the shapes and the character of this place,” added River Richie, a fashion intern who came from New York for the show.

Looks from the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 collection, presented at the Salk Institute on Thursday May 12, 2022.

Looks from the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 collection, presented at the Salk Institute on Thursday May 12, 2022.

(Courtesy of Giovanni Gianonni/Louis Vuitton)

The design of the Salk Institutes takes special care in blending the old with the new. Just ask Ariel Plotek, former curator of modern and contemporary art at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park, who hosted the exhibition Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture in 2016.

There’s this sense of majesty and austerity at the Salk Institute, Plotek previously told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Kahn’s work, here in La Jolla and elsewhere, reaches back to the past with a strong connection to the present. In a way they remind you of the pyramids, the great buildings of Rome, but they are there now for us to experience. I think Kahn’s architecture was deliberately backward looking. … The influence of antiquity, whether Greek or Roman or Egyptian, even medieval. This kind of monumentality.

Kahn’s juxtaposition of old and new, hard angles with the soft edges of nature has been honored with the brand celebrated in the Louis Vuittons 2023 Cruise collection. Models walked in designs with clean lines (reflecting the Salk Institute) and flowing silhouettes (mimicking ocean waves). Puffy, cape-like pieces and robes were paired with metallic leather pants, clunky platforms swimming in chains, and space-age shoulder pads reminiscent of The Jetsons and, in some cases, the post aesthetic. -apocalyptic of Mad Max. With the return to 2000s fashion, many 2000s trends were on full display: low-rise jeans; wrap-around sunglasses; black belts and leather boots with eye-catching cutouts. The collection evoked an aura of medieval and millennial encounter. (Or, in slightly more corny terms, RuneScape meets Matrix.)

Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the models slipped behind the concrete walls of the Salk Institute. With the Pacific as the backdrop, Ghesquire, dressed simply in black, entered the courtyard for a wave of farewell after his 20-minute show, giving attendees plenty of time to capture their perfect social media shot before the San Diego sun disappears over the horizon. .

Looks from the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 collection, presented at the Salk Institute on Thursday May 12, 2022.

Looks from the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 collection, presented at the Salk Institute on Thursday May 12, 2022.

(Courtesy of Giovanni Gianonni/Louis Vuitton)

One of the looks from the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 collection, presented at the Salk Institute on Thursday May 12, 2022.

One of the looks from the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 collection, presented at the Salk Institute on Thursday May 12, 2022.

(Courtesy of Giovanni Gianonni/Louis Vuitton)

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2/ https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/story/2022-05-13/going-brutalist-louis-vuitton-debuts-latest-collection-at-salk-institute

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