Lightning, the star of Louis Vuitton's new ad
Square Enix
Louis Vuitton’s new ‘it’ girl.
PIXEL PERFECT

Louis Vuitton’s new top model is a video-game star

By Marc Bain

Louis Vuitton, one of the world’s most luxurious and historic fashion houses, has cast an offbeat new model in its latest campaign. She’s a sword-wielding warrior with hair dyed pink—or is it rose quartz?—and she’s technically more pixels than person.

Lightning, as she’s called, is a recurring character in Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series and the star of her own title, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. To those credits she now adds heroine in a new ad for the French fashion house, as creative director Nicolas Ghesquière recently revealed when he posted her video spot to his Instagram page.

Ghesquière has had all things digital and fantasy in mind lately. His spring collection for Louis Vuitton pulled heavily from sci-fi, manga, anime, and video games, even down to the makeup. It included allusions to popular works such as Sailor Moon and Neon Genesis Evangelion, and the set, which was lined with video screens, even threw in a reference to the game Minecraft.

The opening look of the show—a pale pink motorcycle jacket, paired with an elaborately detailed black skirt and chunky black sandals—was the same seen on Lightning in the new ad, and even appeared on a model with similarly rosy tresses.

Reuters/Benoit Tessier
Lightning’s look in real life.

Believe it or not, it’s not the first time a major fashion house has turned to Lightning as a model. Prada used her and other Final Fantasy characters to show off a collection back in 2012.

Since posting the video, Ghesquière has already shared a few more shots of Lightning in Louis Vuitton, though it’s not clear how central she will be to Louis Vuitton’s wider campaign, or if other ads in the campaign will also opt for non-humans. Quartz has reached out to Louis Vuitton and Square Enix for more information and will update this post with any response.

But if other ads are any indication, the company and Ghesquière, who has a well-known predilection for the futuristic, will be feeling lots of love for cyber and sci-fi this season. In a nod to Star Wars, its recent window displays come from a galaxy far, far away—those were the label’s words—and a holiday message featured what looked like Uma Thurman’s character in the movie Pulp Fiction imagined as a robot.