We never need an excuse to travel – just the funds. China has been on our editor’s must-visit list for a while and what better time to pop off to Asia than right now.
Louis Vuitton is the epitome of luxury travel goods and for the next 3 months (31st May – 30th August) the Louis Vuitton Voyages exposition will be at the National Museum of China. The exposition will show a variety of travel items from 1865 through to today, highlighting the unique and incredible ability of the Vuitton family and designers to adapt to travel challenges and individual needs. Transporting not just clothes but works art, food and even an iPod library safely and most importantly, in style.
This exposition is unique and is not just about luggage, it is a voyage through time. It begins with a series of photos of rock explosions, taken by Zhan Wang, which capture “the ultimate relationships between man and objects and nature”. Following are floating hot air balloons, one of the first means of travel, and the transparent baskets give a first look at the Maison’s collection.
Mr Louis Vuitton founded the company in 1854 and the exposition shows how Vuitton “skilfully blends tradition and innovation, making luxury a cultural heritage, the fullest expression of a refined art of living…” (Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton).
The first trunks made were covered in Trianon Grey canvas (a reference to Marie Antoinette’s much loved le Petit Trianon) crafted in 1865. The Damier trunk, with the now famous LV monogram (1888) is also on display. Perhaps it was Vuitton’s humble beginnings as a packer that enabled him to cleverly design the trunks with compartments to organise hats, shoes and clothes, similar to a portable wardrobe and these special trunks later became known as the “Louis Vuitton Wardrobe”.
One of the family’s first clients was Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. Vuitton created trunks which housed her couture gowns and special cosmetic cases for her toiletries, complete with crystal bottles. Another famous client was the Khedive of Egypt, for whom Vuitton created personalised carry cases to preserve his gourmet food.
However, Vuitton did not limit their travel pieces to trunks and cases. A camp bed trunk was created in 1885 which consisted literally of a bed that folded out of a trunk, a secretary desk (1930) complete with a table and a library trunk (1936) which housed books and a typewriter. The family even tried their hand at making a helicopter which showed at the Paris air show in 1910. A far cry from the designer luggage, handbags and couture fashion of today.
Louis Vuitton still embodies luxury travel and continues to meet their client’s individual needs, for example Karl Largerfeld’s personalised i-pod library and Jean Larivière’s photography case. The brand has managed to garner a host of world class designers such as Stephen Sprouse’s and the Graffiti art designs in 2000, Takashi Murakami’s cherry blossom designs in 2003 and notably Marc Jacobs as artistic director. The exposition is a must see and shows how far the iconic brand has come from its’ founders humble beginnings. It is for anyone who has ever wanted to own one of the coveted trunks.
The Louis Vuitton Voyages exposition will be on display from May 31st until August 30th, 2011.
Images supplied by Louis Vuitton. Copyright Louis Vuitton / Luc Castel.
By Katie Hill.
Katie Hill loves writing about fashion from all over the world. A self-confessed shopaholic, she is always seeking out the lastest news and newest trends.