The Louis Vuitton Volez, Voguez, Vayagez (Fly, Sail, Travel) exhibition has made its way around the globe. Originating in Paris, the brands birthplace the presentation has finally made its way to New York City after much anticipation. Both Paris and Tokyo viewers of the exhbition have given rave reviews of this immersive exhibition. And it is no wonder why when each room of the Louis Vuitton exhibition was curated to not only showcase the immersive Louis Vuitton history from past to present, but honor the city in which it is held. The original stock exchange building where the exhibition is housed is a New York City institution and is magnificent on its own. As you make you way into each room you are transported to the past, with each interiorly transformed to represent Louis Vuitton’s history. The exhibition has an accompanying app that gives you an interactive experience, so be sure to download that first!
History of Louis Vuitton the Man
At the age of 14 Louis Vuitton left his village in Eastern France on foot and made his way to Paris two years later. As a young man he apprenticed as a box maker and packer for the box manufacturer Romaine Marechal. By 1854 he founded the company of Louis Vuitton on rue Nerve-des-Capucines which became one of Paris’s most famous shopping boulevards. His lightweight yet strong designs became a hit amongst high society. Louis is credited in perfecting the flat trunk, the first step towards modern luggage. By 1875 he created the wardrobe trunk which allowed the traveler to hang their clothes in the luggage. This invention skyrocketed the already booming company.
Part 1-The Trunk of 1906
In 1896 Louis Vuitton’s son Georges created the “LV” monogram which the house is known for. In 1906 the monogram was added to the trunk for the first time by Gaston-Louis Vuitton, grandson of Louis Vuitton. 1906 was also the first time the trunk was designed with their signature brass corners with a patent lock added for security.
Woodwork was Louis’s first craftsmanship. As a young boy who grew up near a forest wood was always influential for him. As a box maker he also worked with wood, so it was second nature for Louis to create his own trunks out of wood. In particular he used camphor wood to detour pests, poplar wood for the frame and beech wood for reinforcement. Lastly he would use rosewood for its aromatic scent.
Part 3-Classic Trunks
The linage of trunks begins with the Trainon Grey in 1854. The Striped Canvas trunk came next in 1872 which came in the colors red, brown and later in the combination of beige and brown. 1888 introduced the Damier canvas trunk and soon the flat trunk was invented. The house continued to build their reputation for trunks and cemented their reliability with the Ideale trunk, with the purpose of keeping items safe during travel.
Part 4-The Invention of Travel
Louis Vuitton was the luggage of choice for explorer and engineer André-Gustave Citroën during the excursions of the 1924 and 1925. The House of Louis Vuitton created particular trunks that could withstand the hot climate, different types of transportation and accommodate the portable comforts needed for explorers like Citroën.
During the rise of yachting the house of Louis Vuitton created the Steamer Bag, which modernized the hand luggage spectrum. The bag had the ability to be folded into any wardrobe trunk compartment. The bags weight, size and ease is considered to be the blueprint for the modern day gym bag.
During the automobile rise the Vuittonite or Monogram canvas wardrobe and hat trunks were the some of Louis Vuitton’s most popular trunks. Picnic trunks, coolers and flat Morocco leather bag, the precursor to the handbag were in high demand as well.
The invention of airplanes led the house of Louis Vuitton to meet the needs of aviators and travelers alike. The Aero trunk, the grandfather of the carry-on luggage was the answer for people needing compact and lightweight luggage.
Advancements in train travel gave the house the chance to create the Cabin trunk. This new trunk could fit under seats, while other bags such as garment and overnight bags also became in demand models.
Gaston-Louis Vuitton was an appreciator of writing and books. He himself was an author so its no wonder that the house of Louis Vuitton created mobile offices and various trunks that suited traveling writers.
The Louis Vuitton Volez, Voguez, Voyagez exhibition will be open until January 7, 2018 on 86 Trinity Place in the financial district. I will have a follow up post covering rooms 6-10 soon. Have you seen the exhibition or are you looking forward to seeing it? Let me know your comments and thoughts here and on social media!