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Paris Fashion Week has been like no other due to the pandemic. But while other brands scaled back their spectacles, Nicolas Ghesquière’s Louis Vuitton SS21 show reached for new levels of inclusivity – and offered a first glimpse inside the brand’s La Samaritaine hub, opening next year.

The heritage-listed art nouveau department store was designed by architect Frantz Jourdain in 1905 and is owned by the LVMH Group. After closing in 2005 due to safety codes, LV spent the last 15 years masterminding its transformation into a mixed-use hub that will house a restored department store, boutique hotel, offices and restaurants.

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Ghesquière co-opted the top floor of the soon-to-be-completed complex for his runway show, with models dressed in genderless ensembles walking beneath the building’s feted dome, La Rotonde.

Only 200 guests were in attendance at each of the two physical shows. Still, those tuning in from home could embark on a rarified digital experience: 360-degree cameras offered views of the building’s restored frescoes, as well as the garments.

 

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Green screens also studded the walls and floors of the runway, showing footage from Wim Wenders’s film, Wings of Desire.

Pandemic-related delays aside, La Samaritaine is expected to open fully in February 2021.

 

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Towering stained-glass windows cast an ethereal glow across Dior’s SS21 show

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