Louis Vuitton and Pelé

The French creative director Nicolas Ghesquière transmits his affinity for soccer and Brazil into his latest cruise collection

Though, like most designers, he played very little football in his youth, Nicolas Ghesquière has taken a shine to soccer. And, with France newly resplendent in the Euros thanks to Dimitri Payet, the playmaker who fell from heaven, his latest athletic ideas for Louis Vuitton could not be more timely.

Football motifs on delicate dresses at Louis Vuitton Cruise 2017 in Rio

Ghesquière unveiled his soccer chic in Rio last month in Vuitton’s cruise show, staged in front of the legendary MAC, the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, designed by the legendary Oscar Niemeyer, a flying saucer-shaped structure that blossoms beautifully over a giant reflecting pool.

“A Fera” from 1966 by Brazilian artist Aldemir Martins

The designer was inspired by Brazilian artist Aldemir Martins, one of whose most iconic painting is “A Fera” from 1966 which features Edson Arantes do Nascimento – to give Pelé his full name – executing one of his trademark elastic body swerves. That bold graphic popped up on some super grainy leather bags – sure-fired hits down in Brazil. There were even a couple of player print dresses covered in athletic mesh. With Rio about to host the Olympics – the Pelé-print jerseys, lightweight football shorts, and in scuba-fabric high-top shoes – were timely in Brazil too.

Football meets fashion in those beautiful Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection bags
Football meets fashion in those beautiful Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection bags

Since April, Ghesquière had peppered Instagram with images of Rio and MAC Niterói. Shots from his corner room of the Philippe Starck-designed Fasano Hotel overlooking Ipanema Beach; strolling around the city in shorts or of the curvilinear museum. “I have always loved the clothes that women wear on city streets, and I am obsessed with sport and with movement. Here in Rio, beach life is urban life,” the French creative said.

For Ghesquière, luxury and sporty, body conscious fabrics make a perfect symbiosis

Ghesquière also played on a floral print from Aldemir Martins, which he saw in a retrospective of 60 Brazilian artists commissioned by French firm Rhodia to promote synthetic yarn. “I find that the most interesting thing today in fashion is this mélange of sophisticated luxury meeting sporty, body conscious fabrics. That defines our era, in my view,” argued the Vuitton creator.

Body conscious for sure – just like Jogo Bonita, The Beautiful Game that historically defines the exuberant Brazilian approach to football, and fashion.