On the Runway: Nicolas Ghesquière Still Has Something He Wants to Say at Louis Vuitton

And he said a lot of it at the brand’s cruise show in the south of France.

The Louis Vuitton Cruise show, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, on May 28, 2018. CreditValery Hache/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A few days before his 2019 Louis Vuitton cruise show, held in the Miró labyrinth at the Foundation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence, the designer Nicolas Ghesquière put up what seemed like a very strange post on his Instagram account: “Happy to renew my commitment with the beautiful house of @louisvuitton. #notgoinganywhere.”

It has become almost expected that once a month, if not more often, some fashion house will announce it is parting ways with its erstwhile star designer, and the gossip engine is often in overdrive with speculation about who will go next. But a designer announcing he is not going anywhere? That, in fact, the news is … no news? That is the clearest statement yet of the current instability in fashion.

As to why he did it: Mr. Ghesquière, speaking on the phone from the South of France, said he wanted to celebrate what he characterized as a “happy marriage” (and, presumably, squash rumors to the contrary). Also, he added, to make public the fact that “I have much more to say” creatively at Vuitton.

CreditSebastien Nogier/EPA, via Shutterstock; Eric Gaillard/Reuters

On Monday evening as the sun set over the Côte d’Azur he started to say it. His audience of 600 guests included Emma Stone, Justin Theroux and Ruth Negga. Most of them, as is general practice with such far-flung shows, had been brought over as guests of the brand and treated to not just a 15 minute runway parade but three days of “activations.”

Credit Eric Gaillard/Reuters

“We are living in a moment when it is easy and possible to borrow ideas because they are all available all the time,” Mr. Ghesquière said. “It’s like sampling in music; it is normal. But it creates a situation of sameness at all levels of fashion. The world is dressing the same. And I want to question that. I think it’s time to move on from that.”

The mix of techniques and fabrics and references may not have always been flattering, but it was, unquestionably, original.

Mr. Ghesquière said the collection, which was in part about testing the laws of gravity when it comes to clothing, but also about exploring the idea of what “eccentricity” means when individuality is easy to copy, had been inspired by Ms. Coddington, the former creative director of Vogue, and surprise star of “The September Issue,” the 2009 documentary on the magazine. He even “Grace-ified” the LV monogram by rendering it in orange to match her hair.

From left: Justin Theroux, Jennifer Connelly, Lea Seydoux, Emma Stone, Delphine Arnault, Xavier Niel, and Isabelle Huppert, behind Mr. Ghesquière. CreditValery Hache/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images