I absolutely love museums. Especially when you put fashion and art together! So I obviously had to go to the Louis Vuitton exhibit at the American Stock Exchange Building in New York City. The exhibit will be open from October 27th, 2017 through January 7th, 2018. The best part is it’s absolutely free! It does get busy and pretty crowded. I was lucky that a coworker gave me her fast pass. I know this post isn’t beauty related, but it honestly is an exhibit, that’s worth sharing. There is such rich history of Louis Vuitton. It’s more than just their monogrammed bags that every girl has. The House of Louis Vuitton truly evolved and revolutionized how we traveled. Pictures were taken from my iPhone, so sorry they’re not the best. Want to visit the exhibit? Details below!
86 TRINITY PLACE
NEW YORK, NY 10006
From 10.27.2017 to 01.07.2018
Monday to Saturday 10:00 am – 8:00pm
Sunday 11:00am – 7:00pm
Last admission: 30 minutes before closing
Reduced hours: Christmas Eve 11:00am – 6:00pm, New Year’s Eve 11:00am – 6:00pm, New Year’s Day 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Holiday closures: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day
Curated by Olivier Saillard, the exhibition retraces the adventure of the House of Louis Vuitton from 1854 to the present. A story told through the portraits of its founders, as well as those who today are inventing the Louis Vuitton of tomorrow.
So let’s start with the history of LV. In 1835, at 14 years old, Louis Vuitton left Anchay, his native village in the Jura Mountains of easter France (close to the Swiss border). He traveled on foot (!!), reaching Paris 2 years later. He was immediately hired as a box-maker/packer apprentice by Romain Marécha, whose business consisted of manufacturing boxes and crates used to pack everyday objects and voluminous wardrobes. Louis Vuitton founded his own company in 1854 on rue Neuve-de-Capucines and began to win the favor of important people. Ergonomically designed, his creations were tailored for strength and lightness. He perfected the flat trunk, now considered the beginning of modern luggage. The use of canvas and patterns set his creations apart, as well as protected against counterfeits. In 1875, the 1st vertical wardrobe trunk, with both parts thoughtfully fitted out, guaranteed the success of a company already specialized in travel.
The rest of the story would be written by his son, Georges, and his grandson Gaston-Louis. In 1890, the tumbler lock was a major invention that allowed the same customer to open each piece of luggage with a single key In 1896, the famous Monogram canvas proudly honored the founding father, who died in 1892.
The Trunk of 1906
The trunks is what made the house a success. Distinctive elements such as canvas motifs, locks, ribbon tufting were featured in all the trunks. They made so many different types of trunks: flat trunks, cabin trunks, car trunks and aero or restrictive trunks. The Steamer Bag, precursor of hand luggage, The keepall, the speedy, the Noé and Marceaus all echoed the developments of modernity.
The Importance of Wood
Of all the materials used in the manufacturing of a trunk, wood is the most important, both symbolically and creatively. If reflects the humble origins of young Louis and a reminder of the forest landscapes of Franche-Comté. Wood was at the heart of his profession. Armed with his knowledge of woodworking, Louis Vuitton started as a box-maker upon his arrival in Paris. When he was making the trunks that would become famous, he used poplar to assemble the inner frame, cut teh reinforcement strips from beech, and for the interior, he used camphor trees to keep pests away, or rosewood for its pleasant fragrance. Event today, special orders follow the same use of materials.Requests are always designed in the Asnière-sur-Seine workshops with the finest woods. AKA: that’s why it’s expensive AF.
The Impact of Travel
1) By Boat
The House of Louis Vuitton accompanied the expedition of André Citroën. He traveled through Algeria, Mali, and the Congo. Special orders were made so as to offer trunks that were suited to climate, modes of transport, and the practcalities of daily life for the explorers (ie: tea sets, toiletry kits). The second expedition organized by André Citroën, the Croisière Jaune, took place a few weeks before the official opening of the Colonial Exposition of 1931, with the objective of crossing the legendary Silk Road through Asia.
2) By Yacht
In the early twentieth century, the invention of the Steamer Bag by Louis Vuitton revolutionized the creative industry of hand luggage. Orginally designed as an extra bag, the Steamer Bag could be folded and stored in a wardrobe trunk compartment. In its modern size, lightness, and convenience, it was a precursor to the modern gym bag. Its astute closing system on a canvas or leather frame served as a prototype for highly successful future adaptations in the fashion industry. The Steamer Bag was associated with the sea-travel craze. From the 1910’s aboard floating palaces, people would change their clothing according to the time of the day.
3) By Automobile
Tied to the top or the back of cars, car trunks in Vuittonite or Monogram canvas carried wardrobes and hats. Footrest briefcases, picnic trunks, and coolers made pit stops along the way essential. Wrapped in a blanket-cars had no roofs then- wearing a cap or a veil, sheltered under thick goggles, the fashionable passenger held a flat Morocco leather bag in her arms. Its simple form, in varying sizes, stored: gloves, stole, vials. It was the prelude to the handbag which flourish in the 20th & 21st centuries.
4) By Plane
In the early 20th century Louis Vuitton closely followed innovators in the aviation business. To equip aviators and passengers, the Aéro trunk could hold: 2 pieces of clothing, 1 overcoat, 10 shirts, 3 nightgowns, 3 paris of underwear, 3 wasitcoast, 6 pairs of socks, 12 handkerchiefs, 1 pair of shoes, 18 detachable collars, gloves, ties, and hats. All weight less than 57 pounds! (I’m a bit confused why they only had 3 pairs of underwear but carried 12 handkerchiefs). They created the Aviette, a more feminine version. Louis Vuitton’s twin grandsons, Jean and Pierre (sons of Georges) were also passionate about aviation. After the JPV car, they invented prototypes of a helicopter and an airplane that were shown in 1909 and 1910 at the Air and Automobile Travel Exhibition of Paris at the Grand Palais.
5) By Train
Technical inventions favoring the traveler’s comfort were developed Clothing was adapted to the new modes of travel. Suits, coats, and overalls in neutral tones kept company with the tastemakers of the time. Traveling became a way of life; the Cabin trunk could be slid under the sleeper wagon set, the Square Mouth and Gladstone travel bag models, garment bags and night bags in cognac or coal-hued leather were carried by modern travelers.
The next part of the exhibit focused on creating secretary trunks, writing desks, mobile offices. Writing was the form of communication at that time. This way of life and this art of correspondence were appreciated by Gaston-Louis (grand son of Louis Vuitton) His devotion to the art of typography was combined with his passion for monograms. He was fascinated with paper, which he collected as he was an author and skilled draftsman, which he did on his spare time.
Next was the painting trunk. IN 1924, René Gimpel, a prominent art dealer, ordered a trunk for his frequent trips between Paris, London, and New York. Oversized, it housed drawers that could contain fragile frames without risking damage during transport. Orders were placed by well-known artist such as Henri Matisse and Francis Picabia. Sometimes there were able to reinvent the fabrics, patterns or designs for Louis Vuitton!
The next portion is all the collaborations which was pretty cool to see. They have the newest collaboration bags. But the piece in the middle was definitely the focal point of the room.
The last section was my absolute favorite! First, the room’s wall was the Louis Vuitton graffiti in hot pink and every style blogger basically took a thousand pictures in the corner. After watching them for a few minutes Gabi and I decided to do it as well. I mean they must be doing it because it looks good on Insta right? Well, we didn’t pose as well of them but check out our best picture (haha).
Anyways, this section was my absolute favorite because it had all the red carpet Louis Vuitton dresses. It was super helpful that they had a video loop with all the starts wearing the dress. These dresses are tiny! So stars really are super skinny IRL.
This exhibit is definitely a must see! Go check it out before it closes in January. It does get very busy on the weekends so try and get the fast pass if you can!