Louis Vuitton debuts 2023 cruise collection at Louis Kahn's Salk Institute

French fashion house Louis Vuitton showed its 2023 cruise collection of shimmering armour-like silhouettes at the brutalist Salk Institute designed by US architect Louis Kahn.

The Louis Vuitton show took place at sunset on 12 May at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, San Diego County, California.

Image of the the sun lining up with the stream at the Salk Institute
The cruise show took place in the plaza at Louis Khan's Salk Institute

Nicolas Ghesquière, creative director of Louis Vuitton, explained that he selected the brutalist building as the location for the show because of its "extraordinary setting" overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

"The Salk Institute has been a place of wonder for me over the years and Louis Kahn's stunning brutalist architecture against this extraordinary setting of the Pacific Ocean and the California sunset provides me with endless inspiration," said Ghesquière.

Image of the exterior of the Salk Institute which was the setting for Louis Vuittons 2023 cruise show
Ghesquière chose the institute for its extraordinary setting. Photo is by Elizabeth Daniels, courtesy of the Getty Conservation Institute.

Models emerged from the western edge of the Salk Institute's courtyard against the golden horizon and walked between six rows of seating that lined the length of the space for its 650 guests.

"The sun is the guest of honour in the Cruise 2023 collection," said Louis Vuitton's show notes. "It plays an active part in the evolution of this wardrobe where changes in temperature set a stylistic tempo."

Image of model Steinberg wearing a metallic look in the Louis Vuitton 2023 cruise show
The show featured futuristic and ceremonial-style silhouettes

The collection was informed by the Californian landscape and featured desert and water sports-like cuts, which were paired with natural materials such as linen, silk, and tweed.

Juxtaposing materials were blended to create futuristic yet archaic silhouettes.

Sporty clothing was paired with embellished skirts and accessories
The collection was informed by the Californian landscape

Graphic bomber jackets, metallic fabrics, and embellished garments shimmered against the concrete setting as models walked through the golden concrete and sunset.

The show ended with a trio of oversized sculptural metallic bolero's which were lined in shimmering fringe.

The 2023 show setting follows the now tradition of Louis Vuitton cruise and resort shows taking place at some of the world's most iconic architectural locations.

In 2017 Vuitton showed its 2018 cruise collection at IM Pei's Miho Museum in Japan, while Oscar Niemeyer's MAC in Niteroi, Brazil was used as the setting for its 2017 collection.

Model is pictured wearing a sculptural golden bolero
Models walked around the Salk Institutes River of Life

Named after Jonas Salk, the American medical researcher who developed the first polio vaccine, the Salk Institute was completed in 1965

It contains housing, medical laboratories, offices and research facilities in a pair of six-storey symmetrical concrete buildings, which flank a travertine courtyard that contains a central stream of water. The building was restored in 2017.

Kahn is one of the 20th century's most celebrated architects who is known for his brutalist and monolithic buildings. In 2021, plans to demolish part of Kahn's Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad were withdrawn after international criticism.

Elsewhere in the US, a large pride flag was covered across the steps of the Kahn-designed Four Freedom State Park in New York.

Photos are courtesy of Louis Vuitton unless stated otherwise.

Dezeen is on WeChat!

Click here to read the Chinese version of this article on Dezeen's official WeChat account, where we publish daily architecture and design news and projects in Simplified Chinese.

More images

Louis Vuitton's 2023 cruise show took place at Louis Khan's Salk Institute in San Diego
Louis Vuitton's 2023 cruise show took place at Louis Khan's Salk Institute in San Diego
Louis Vuitton's 2023 cruise show took place at Louis Khan's Salk Institute in San Diego
Louis Vuitton's 2023 cruise show took place at Louis Khan's Salk Institute in San Diego