How you can check out the world of Louis Vuitton … for free
For the first time in the U.S. you can experience the world of Louis Vuitton — free of charge. The storied fashion house is opening up its archives for a special look inside its historic collection of trunks, handbags, red carpet gowns, and much more. You can see it all through Louis Vuitton’s extraordinary new exhibit, “Volez, Voguez, and Voyagez.” It chronicles the story of the Louis Vuitton brand since its inception in 1854, and through the lens of esteemed curator, Olivier Saillard.
It is only natural that the exhibit begins with the iconic Louis Vuitton trunks, the heart of Louis Vuitton’s humble beginnings as a box-maker in his native home in Franche-Comté. Since the start, the young Louis was very serious about his “boxes” or trunks as we know them today— making sure they were each made of the highest quality. “You always think about the importance of leather when explaining Louis Vuitton, but at the very beginning of the story it was all about the wood,” Saillard shares to Yahoo Lifestyle. Interestingly, Saillard himself distinguishes wood as an important element in his own work—so much so that he pulled out a piece of wood during the interview to show a wooden block attached to his keys.
The passion for wood is shown throughout the exhibit starting with the craftsmanship of each trunk. Louis Vuitton used beech wood to reinforce the inner frames of the trunks, used camphor tree wood to keep pests away, and even incorporated rosewood for its pleasant fragrance. Still—to this day many special order trunks follow this same method and are produced at the original Vuitton workshop located in Asnières-sur-Seine, in the northwestern suburbs of Paris.
The trunks remain a central theme throughout the exhibit and help tell the story of how the Louis Vuitton brand became a household name for travelers around the globe.
It’s important to remember that it wasn’t until 1997 when Marc Jacobs became creative director did the brand segue into producing ready-to-wear. For over 140 years, the brand was focused on handbags and travel luggage. Thus, the exhibit is broken up into 10 rooms focused on different modes of travel and eras of the Vuitton story—from yachts to aviation, automobiles, and trains. As you travel throughout the exhibit, you discover how the Vuitton label evolved and changed as passengers’ needs for luggage changed with each mode of transportation.
For example, Louis Vuitton developed a large, cotton canvas bag called the “steamer bag” that was to be stored inside one’s trunks to house dirty laundry—serving as the original hamper. These were heavy duty, large bags that have no resemblance to the plastic or wooden boxes we keep our dirty laundry in today.
Although the steamer bags were fairly simple, curator Saillard tells Yahoo Lifestyle that one steamer bag on display from 1901 is a “must see,” despite its “ordinary” and “simple” nature.
Other standout items include the trunk specifically designed for the Wes Anderson film, The Darjeeling Limited in 2006 which replaces the “LV” monogram in place of playful prints of palm trees, zebras, and giraffe.
Additional favorites include an exquisite hat box from 1937 once owned by the former Vogue editor-in-chief, Diana Vreeland as well an old book trunk from 1964 that belonged to Yves Saint Laurent.
There is also a room dedicated to the multitude of special collaborations from artists and other designers with Louis Vuitton, such as Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, Stephen Sprouse, Supreme and more recently, Jeff Koons.
Due to Louis Vuitton’s significant impact on American fashion, especially with dressing the red carpet, there is a special room at the end which is dedicated to the iconic gowns designed by former and current Louis Vuitton creative directors, Marc Jacobs and Nicolas Ghesquière. One standout gown on display is the stunning strapless yellow, hand-beaded gown worn by Oscar winner Alicia Vikander in 2016.
The exhibit is beautifully crafted from start to finish. Saillard shares that he would love to “invite visitors to appreciate every decade” of the Louis Vuitton story and the many faces from Louis Vuitton’s family tree who helped make the brand that it is today.
Remember, admission is free — so gather your colleagues, friends, and family to enter the world of Louis Vuitton like you’ve never seen it before. “Vogez, Voguez, and Voyagez” will be on display at 86 Trinity Place through January 7, 2018. You can find more information on louisvuitton.com.
Source: Julie Tong