Trunks, art and polka-dots, how do these three things relate to each other you might wonder. The name that brings it all together is Louis Vuitton. The maison traditionelle invited us over to Paris on a show&tell with LV along with fellow bloggers Katja from LesMads, Sarah from Josie Loves, Sascha & Peter from Horstson, as well as Andy from Style Scrapbook and Carolina from Fashionsqad. In only two days we got to see the historical home of Louis Vuitton, who started his business in 1854, the studio in Asnières that still produces the famous travel trunks, the pop-up store opening for their design collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, the big Maison store at the Champs Elysees, their gallery Espace Culturel and the Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs exhibition. Follow our short but exciting trip after the jump.
The first stop of our 2-day-program was the beautiful historical home of Louis Vuitton in Asnière that has been the heritage of the family over generations and is now used as a museum. The Art Deco design of the house is beyond charming and you almost don’t dare sitting down on the pretty floral patterns of the couches (although you are allowed to). On the coffee table you can see family photos that date back over centuries. I really wonder if the man who started to build these iconic travel trunks (back in a time where traveling meant you would take almost all your belongings with you as you were stuck on a ship for weeks and months) would have imagined that over 150 years later his products would be shrunk to the size of a weekender (a concept unthinkable of at the time) and covered in polka-dots by a crazy old Japanese lady.
Upstairs they installed an exhibition of vintage trunks and bags, such as this dirty laundry bag below that was also the point of inspiration of the men’s shoulder bag of the Spring/Summer 2012 collection. It was interesting to see that the original trunks didn’t even have the typical monogram pattern on brown canvas that we know from all the hand bags and soft leather travel bags. Back then they were either striped (red) or checked.
Our second visit was the one of the studio right next to the family home. Here they still produce the famous trunks (yes, some people actually still travel with trunks) and custom made bags. We walked through all the different levels and got to see the process of the making from putting together the wooden box, over covering it with the canvas until finally installing the locks.
In the evening of day one we stepped into the wonderland of polka-dot fanatic Yayoi Kusama as Louis Vuitton celebrated the opening of the pop-up store at Printemps. I haven’t been to any of the other pop-up stores for the design collaboration with the charismatic Japanese artist yet, so for me it was all brand new and exciting. Everything was polka-dotted, even the fingerfood somehow resembled dots.
The dotted DJanes were the highlight of the evening, as was the amazing photobox that transformed your photo into a polka-dot collage, just like the iPhone App for the design collaboration does. I will totally steal this idea for our anniversary party next week (only we will be transforming your photos into Kaleidoscopes)
The second day started quite early with the visit of the Maison Louis Vuitton, their main store at the Champs Elysees that apparently is the 5th most visited sight of Paris. We went there before it officially opened and got a little tour. It’s quite the labyrinth and is home to all the different product worlds of the brands. Everything they do, you will find it here (except for the items that I was interested in that was all sold out, damn it!). Next year they will open a Maison store in Munich, there is actually only a few of those in the world, so that’s quite an honor for Germany.
In the same building they also host a gallery for contemporary art called Espace Culturel. We saw a great exhibition there titled Turbulences about the dissolution of matter. My favorites of the exhibition you will find below. I’m excited that the new Maison store in Munich will also get an Espace Culturel so we can look forward to interesting exhibitions there as well.
Attila Csörgo (Bucharest), How to Construct an Orange? II, 1993-2006
Pascal Haudressy (Paris), Choice, 2012
Sachiko Kodama (Kagoshima), Morpho Towers – Two Standing Spirals, 2010
Angela Bulloch (Berlin), Progression of 8 perverted pixels, 2008
Our final stop was the Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Here we once again got to see the historical trunks in all variations (they also made them as fold-out beds, portable desks and in all imaginable sizes). In the second part of the exhibition we were able to dive into the world of inspirations of Marc Jacobs, who is the head designer of Louis Vuitton since 1997, and could also see an amazing retrospective of his work for the brand. On the way out we were saluted by Marc Jacobs himself – well, a miniature version of him at least. Good bye, Marc, we had a great time in Paris!