Louis Vuitton. A princely Italian island for the May show

Palazzo Borromeo, Isola Bella, details_ph. Frances de Paolis
Enchanted by the baroque magnificence of the place and the sweetness of the surrounding nature, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Guirlesque, chooses Isola Bella for the 2024 Cruise Collection show

Isola Bella, the flagship of Lake Maggiore, was modeled in the seventeenth century in the shape of a vessel: the Palazzo dei Principi Borromeo at the bow, the ten terraced gardens at the stern.
Reachable by boat or motorboat, visited and photographed by tourists from all over the world, Isola Bella houses a whirlwind of ballrooms, tapestry halls, shell-encrusted underground chambers on the water’s edge, geometric Italian gardens with rare plants and exotic and 130 masterpieces with artists including Raphael, Correggio, Titian, Guido Reni. The goodies? One room houses the opulent canopy where Napoleon slept, and among the flowerbeds and sculptural bushes of the gardens roam regal white peacocks that display wheels of splendid plumage in spring.
After five hundred years of private parties and theatrical performances for the European nobility, the island opens up for the first time to a fashion show.
The theme of travel and the selection of extraordinary places has guided the Maison Louise Vuitton on the fresh waters of the lake, already admired by greats such as Hamingway and Gabriele d’Annunzio who lived there with his beloved Eleonora Duse.
On May 24, the Resort fashion show for the presentation of the Louis Vuitton 2024 Cruise Collection will take place, probably in the center of the gardens of Isola Bella, where the Teatro Massimo stands out, a tapered monument with fountains, waterfalls, sculptures, obelisks, culminating with the statue of unicorn, symbol of the Borromeo family. The collection will be available from November.

But what is a Cruise or Resort Collection?

It is a type of collection born about ten years ago, designed to present garments in the spring that in the winter months could be worn by those who went on vacation on a cruise (cruise) or in tropical places. Recently, however, their function has changed: these collections have become the basis of every fashion house: scenic locations are chosen, where the market is flourishing. Presented a few months before the main prêt à porter shows, outside the traditional fashion weeks, they have turned into a sort of luxury preview.

Palazzo Borromeo, Isola Bella, detail_ ph. Frances de Paolis
The Louis Vuitton Cruise Collections and Lake Maggiore

Over the years, the maison has chosen eclectic and breathtaking places for its catwalks such as John Lautner’s Bob & Dolores Hope Estate in Palm Springs or the Salk Institute in California, a futuristic laboratory in wood and concrete. The contemporary art museum of Niterói in Brazil, the Miho Museum by architect Ieoh Ming Pei, near Kyoto and the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence, France.
Writers such as Stendhal have written in the past about the Borromean island, elected this year’s queen by Vuitton, who enthusiastically states: “Nothing in the world can be compared to the charm of these days spent by the lakes, in the chestnut woods so green that they seem to immerse their branches in water. If you have a heart and a shirt, sell the shirt and visit the surroundings of Lake Maggiore”.

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Louis Vuitton. A princely Italian island for the May show