Cover Photo: Getty Images

The Olympic medalist and Gen.T honouree transforms into a powerful warrior-goddess for the runway

Not long after making history as the youngest Olympic champion in freestyle skiing, Eileen Gu has set another milestone of her own by modelling for Louis Vuitton.

The 18-year-old athlete made her runway debut at the French luxury fashion brand’s Cruise 2023 show, which was held at the Salk Institute in San Diego.

Gu made a powerful entrance wearing a cropped vest top with wide shoulders and metallic embellishments, matched by a ruffled skirt and silver striped sneakers. Her fierce ensemble was completed with a Louis Vuitton monogram handbag and a black grommet belt tied around her waist.

It was a look that was unforgettable, and all the more so for Gu herself. On Instagram, the model shared her excitement to over one million followers, writing, “Walking the Louis Vuitton Cruise show today was such a dream. Thank you Louis Vuitton and Nicolas Ghesquière for having me and for your masterful artistry.”

Read more: 5 Things to Know About Chinese-American Skier Eileen Gu

This may be her first catwalk, but Gu is no stranger to the fashion world. Represented by IMG models, the athlete previously starred in campaigns for fashion and jewellery brands including Victoria’s Secret and Tiffany & Co, but it is with Louis Vuitton that she holds the strongest ties.

Last December, the Chinese ski champion fronted the French fashion brand’s wintry campaign for its Twist bag. She has also attended the Met Gala twice—including the one held this year—and both times she was dressed in Louis Vuitton, joining stylish celebrities like Emma Stone and Crazy Rich Asians’ Gemma Chan.

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More than a pretty face, the Gen Z Olympian is also a fervent advocate for gender equality and the representation of women in sports. With that strength of character and her forward-looking approach, Gu perfectly embodies the powerful Louis Vuitton woman that designer Nicolas Ghesquière was no doubt inspired by for his latest collection.

The futuristic fashion show featured models in voluminous gowns, embellished biker jackets and gladiator-style ensembles, toughened up with space-inspired metallic fabrics and big, broad shoulders mimicking the lines of UFOs.

The collection was a spectacle worthy of marking the first fashion show held at the Salk Institute, an architectural landmark dedicated to science. And, as the building overlooks the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, the sun was very much a part of the setting, its light playing off the textures of the clothes. Take a look at the collection below.

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