At the Louis Vuitton IRL show right here on our island this evening, rain water came down so spectacularly that some attendees said that it wouldn’t be an LV show without the “drama”
Rain-soaked runway at the ArtScience Museum
The weather has been unpredictable these two weeks. Rain spoils the afternoons, not the thunderstorm that was forecasted. Past lunch time today, the sky above many parts of the island was overcast with dark and pregnant clouds, above which a steadfast blue could be seen. Around two today, the unmistakable petrichor that precedes a shower on a scorching day was heady. We were in the east, where we had just finished a late lunch when it started to drizzle. The dense grey clouds did not release its welcome drench. Later, in the CBD, it was dry until it wasn’t, at about six. At Marina Bay Sands and its surroundings, the rain lent a delectable freshness to the air and the area. Except the Apple store, the roofs of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the kindred Shoppes building in front were aglow with goblin green light, so was the Moshe Safdie-designed ArtScience Museum. Inside, on basement 2, known as Circulation and Oculus, the third part of the most exciting event of the social/fashion calendar since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was about to take place. From the time the news broke four days ago, the Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2021 “spin-off” show was all anyone in the fashion community—invited or not—could talk about.
Despite the resounding buzz of the evening, what nearly dampened the show was the rain making its way into the venue—like Jewel’s Rain Vortex or the adjacent building’s own Rain Occulus—through the sky well above the (also-named) Occulus, a sort of centre ring that the museum calls, somewhat with foresight, a “giant outdoor water feature”. Guests arriving and those already seated were totally amused, unsure if the presentation would go on. Some even wondered if the affair of the night might relocate to the nearby Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Those in the front row, such as Vogue SG editor Norman Tan, were given massive black umbrellas to the consternation of those seated behind. Uniformed staff emerged to arrange rolled-up rags into a disjointed ring to prevent the water from flow-radiating into the space occupied by the audience. They were desperately mopping the floor dry, but the rain was not in a cooperative mood. In the presence of the cleaning crew hard at work, guests were selfie-ing and posing for cameras to be sure they had, for posterity and for their social media followers, photos set against this wet, wet green. The show opened about 20 minutes after the scheduled time of 7.30. The precipitation persisted. So wet the floor was that even seasoned models slipped or fell, such as Yong Kai Gin, who was “fresh off the Paris runways” of last month. Ms Yong, considered “Singapore’s most successful model today”, later appeared in swimwear, with a bruise on her left knee clearly visible.
Cleaning staff trying to mop the catwalk dry
There were three shows spread throughout today, but all were not equally created, at least not by attendance. The first show at noon and the second at 4pm were thought to be for the “not-that-important”, as one attendee enthusiastically described to us. If you were slotted for the 12pm show, “that’s tragic”. And even seated in the actual space was not enough. If you were assigned a cube-seat placed in the peripheral corridor of the Circulation, you were further south on the LV favourite list. Some not invited to the evening “VVIP” presentation, felt slighted. One society fixture/YouTuber, as the afternoon’s chatter went, was so indignant with the less-desirable show time she found herself in, even when she had shared on social media images of the invite with the time clearly printed, that she could not be placated—LV had to invite her to the soiree. It is understandable why there had to be three shows even if consequent problems could be predicted. Each session could accommodate 112 people (more that the number a married couple are presently allowed to host at their wedding reception), as reported in the press, so that all can be seated safely apart. But logistical problems were no concern of those who only wanted to be seen at the time that mattered, on time or not.
The VVIPs are a different lot, as you can imagine; their standing and spending power (five digits upwards for the current season, we heard, to be invited) commensurate with the treatment offered to them to make attending the LV event easier, smoother. Transport (not Grab!) from their individual residences to the venue (and later back to their homes) were provided. Despite door-step car service, some kept the drivers waiting—an attendee was said to have one stood by for a grand hour! At the drop-off point on the Sand Expo and Convention Centre side of the MBS complex on Bayfront Avenue, these VVIPs were also driven in a golf buggy through the mall to the promenade, where they disembarked to walk to the museum. As many of them were to attend in top-to-toe Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2021 RTW (or had spent that six-figure sum), they were sent makeup artists to help them look their Tuesday night LV best. After the show, dinner at three different locations was arranged for them. It was a heady mix of influencers, members of the media, and Mediacorp stars, such as Zoey Tay, Rebecca Lim, Desmond Tan, and Ayden Sng, all togged in, expectedly (or should that be expectantly?), LV.
Monogrammed swimwear appropriate for the wet, wet, wet presentation. Model Yong Kai Gin continued to walk the runway even with a bruised left knee, the result of a fall earlier
While Louis Vuitton’s CEO Michael Burke told The Straits Times that “the spin-off show in Singapore is a way for Louis Vuitton to cultivate proximity with a global audience by bringing the show to a new location…”, there was talk among the audience that Singapore was, in fact, not the first choice, Bangkok was. But due to the pandemic and the still-to-abate political unrest in the Thai capital, LV decided to stage the spin-off show on our potentially rain-soaked island, much to the delight of our Tourist Promotion Board, reportedly the facilitator that had helped LV “to leverage the country’s talent, infrastructure, resources and luxury consumer landscape to bring about this show,” according to ST. It was not surprising, therefore, that the show director was “godfather of Singapore fashion” Daniel Boey (a return to the physical show after last year’s The Front Row digital fashion week). The Spanish film producer Fran Borgia (Sandcastle, Boo Junfeng’s 2010 feature film), who is based here, was the live-stream creative director.
The 7.30pm online show was touted as a “livestream”, but the version posted on the LV (SG) website appeared to have been filmed earlier. Those who sat in front of their PCs or held their smartphones to watch saw not a performance glitched by a downpour, but a laggy video (that froze repeatedly at start), with sometimes choppy sound, and editing that appeared to deliberately create a low-tech effect that recalled music videos of the early ’80s. At the show venue, the soundtrack was suitably thumping and loud, but that did not drown out the vibe of a presentation that barely trifled with the thrilling, or enthralling. We had to remind ourselves that this was a spin-off, not a reproduction of the striking show held in the French department store La Samaritaine last October. The presentation looked totally unrecognisable. Green (to be keyed out later for video effects that were, at best, superfluous) dominated the space, not Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture. The clothes—67 edited looks in all—were pieces from the spring/summer 2021 collection and a separate summer capsule, worn on models unfortunately without the experience or the vim to bring out the wondrousness of Nicolas Ghesquière’s designs. If the cascading water was a welcome droll to the show, the Singapore girls’ performance was the veritable wet blanket.
Photos: The Roving Eye