If you pay attention to fashion news you probably already know that the Louis Vuitton exhibition, that has been a hit in other international cities has made its way to New York City. I made my way to the exhibition twice already and plan to go back before it closes. I wrote a review of the first 5 rooms of the exhibit which you can read here. The following is an overview of the next 5 rooms, which concludes the exhibition.
The Painting Trunk
Louis Vuitton’s relationship with the world of art began in 1924 when art dealer Rene’ Gimpel ordered a trunk for his business trips to New York, Paris and London. To meet the needs of artists like Rene, Louis Vuitton created larger trunks with drawers that could protect the artwork during travel. Returning to the companies roots of protective packaging caught the eye of the art world and soon other artists became customers as well. Masters of the art world such as the artist Matisse became clients of Louis Vuitton. Many artists developed close ties to the company and were given the opportunity to design one of a kind trunks. Over the years these ” artists in residence” have created new fabrics, patterns and designs for the house of Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton’s most recent collaboration has been with the artists Jeff Koons whose collection includes recreations of master works.
During the 1900’s Gaston-Louis started buying trunks from previous customers to create his trunk collection. To start this process he would send certain customers a questionnaire to learn more about their trunks. Next the customers that returned the questionnaire, were sent an offer by Gaston to buy their trunks. The trunks in The Curio Trunks room consists of the trunks Gaston bought to create his collection.
The Beauty of Fashion
Trunks for Stars
During the 1920’s and 1930’s the house of Louis Vuitton stepped beyond the trunk and started making beauty items, furniture pieces and specialty items. Hollywood’s starlets ordered velvet lined trunks along with the various new pieces the house was creating. Specialty pieces that were made for stars include a vanity case for Sharon Stone, wardrobe trunk for Katharine Hepburn and a suitcase and vanity set for Elizabeth Taylor. Stars around the globe continue to order from the house to help them with their travel and everyday needs.
It was in 1927 that Gaston-Louis Vuitton created the first fragrance for Louis Vuitton, in an effort to expand the fields in which Louis Vuitton played. He cared just as much for the look of the bottle as he did the fragrance itself. Being so each time the house created a new fragrance Gaston would commission masters in the decorative arts field to design the bottles. The collaborations became a tradition for the house with its latest being in 2016 with designer Marc Newson.
Not only were silver screen actresses customers of Louis Vuitton, but so were actors. Many of the first were French actors that ordered foot and wardrobe trunks. The actors also ordered garment bangs and toiletry bags that helped push the brand into the menswear arena. In the 1920’s the making of canes with carved heads was another collaboration opportunity for the house and different artists to create unique pieces.
Besides artists the house has collaborated with individual designers over the years. The introduction of different designers to Louis Vuitton began in 1996 when Azzedine Alana, Manolo Blahnik, Romeo Gigli, Helmut Lang, Isaac Mizrahi, Sybilla and Viviene Westwood were invited to collaborate with the house. This event helped mark Louis Vuitton’s one-hundredth anniversary. In 1997 Louis Vuitton officially entered the fashion sphere with a ready-to-wear line. Guiding this new avenue for the brand was Marc Jacobs, the artistic director of the ready- to-wear line for almost 16 years. Jacobs used many of the artistic collaborations as inspirations for his collections. The designers that took on the role as Artistic Director after Jacobs departure also used artists and authors to create unique collections.
The Music Room
Other than making trunks for clothing, art and writing the house of Louis Vuitton has been known to make trunks for musical artists as well. Delicate musical instruments have been stored in these special order trunks. Violins, guitars and more have found a safe haven for travel with Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton Loves America
In 1893 Georges Vuitton made his first step into the U.S market when he attended the Chicago World’s Fair. While there he met John Wanamaker, owner of the first ever department stores. A few years later in 1898 Wanamaker put Louis Vuitton in his New York and Philadelphia stores. By the roaring 20’s Louis Vuitton had become the luxury luggage of choice for people all over the country.
Fast forward to 1997 to one of the most memorable Louis Vuitton eras which is when Marc Jacobs became Artistic Director. The designer guided the brand into the new millennium and held the position as Artistic Director for 16 years. During this time he made iconic collaborations with various artists including Yayoi Kusama who introduced her signature polka dot and Stephen Spouse who created graffiti inspired designs. Currently guiding the Louis Vuitton brand through each season is Nicolas Ghesquiere whose dressed celebrities like Taylor Swift and Nicole Kidman among others.
I hope you get to see this amazing and encompassing exhibition. If you don’t I hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews. I learned so many interesting facts of a brand that I’ve worked for in the past, but had no idea of!
The Louis Vuitton Volez, Voguez, Voyagez exhibition will be on display at the New York Stock Exchange building on 86th Trinity Place in the financial district until January 7th 2018.