Louis Vuitton finds Palm Springs oasis for cruise show

French luxury brand Louis Vuitton is taking its 2016 women’s cruise collection on the road to Palm Springs, hosting a runway show at the Bob and Dolores Hope Estate on Wednesday night for 550 guests who have flown in from all over the world.

The estate, with its distinctive spaceship-like pavilion, is a natural fit for Louis Vuitton artistic director Nicolas Ghesquiere and his sci-fi futurist aesthetic. The Hopes commissioned modernist architect John Lautner to build it in 1973, and at more than 23,000 square feet, it is his largest residential project. The home has been on the market since 2013, the asking price slashed more than 50% to the current price of $25 million.

Ghesquiere showed the first-ever cruise collection show for Vuitton last May in Monaco at the Place de Palais du Monaco, in front of the royal family. So from European royalty, to Hollywood royalty, that’s where we are now.

Globetrotting runway shows have become big business for luxury brands. Last month, Burberry staged a British-themed extravaganza at Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory. On Monday, Chanel showed its cruise collection in Seoul. And Dior’s is scheduled later this month for the French Riviera.

These luxury fashion tours fall between the traditional fall and spring fashion weeks, where there is a lot of competition for eyeballs and clicks. An over-the-top cruise show can generate excitement for a single brand across social media channels, and in regional markets, in this case Southern California. The collections, which are often inspired by the changing destinations, take on a souvenir quality, which can add to the allure for shoppers when cruise clothing and accessories land in stores in November.


Several Palm Springs businesses stand to benefit from Louis Vuitton’s presence in the desert city, among them the Parker Palm Springs, where many guests are being put up, and where the show after-party and dinner will take place. (Reportedly 3,000 rooms have been booked across the Coachella Valley for the week’s events -- lodging for models, celebrities, top clients, international press and more.)

The Palm Springs Art Museum will be closed on Wednesday for a luncheon in the Sculpture Garden for visiting press. And Louis Vuitton is hosting a dinner on Thursday night at Copley’s restaurant (formerly Cary Grant’s estate).

Another local business, the Body Deli, open since 2000, was tapped to collaborate on guest amenities, specifically, a Palm Springs Spa Collection of products with Louis Vuitton labeling, including a lotion, body wash, bath oil and scrub, made with locally-sourced fresh, raw and organic citrus and evening jasmine. Louis Vuitton corporate representatives from Paris discovered the Body Deli, which co-owner David Parker describes as “a juice bar experience for your skin,” when scouting for hotels and local venues in Palm Springs for the show.‎ “For a small business, what an opportunity,” Parker said.

If you didn’t score an invite to the runway event, you can always order the Palm Springs Collection Gift Set on the Body Deli website for $129.95.