During fashion week I had the pleasure of attending the Louis Vuitton Series 3 exhibition in London’s Strand near Somerset House, the ex-venue for LFW, with fellow blogger Dario from The Stylists Den and his lovely friend Noel, from Bleu Anglais
The exhibition was a display of Vuitton’s AW15 collection, but it was also in no short part dedicated to the creative influences of its current Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquière and what this means for Louis Vuitton. Marc Jacobs left big boots to fill and Vuitton want you to know that these have been suitably replaced and given a 3.0 upgrade!
Walking around the exhibition one couldn’t help but feel totally pulled into the world the Ghesquière has created at Vuitton. A world in which supermodels look as though they might stomp through the 10ft screens at any second towards you, where you can watch one of its artisans creating a bag right before your eyes while you ask questions.
Or a world in which the dreamiest walk-in-wardrobe room, one even Carrie Bradshaw herself could not compete with, made of glass cabinets finished in monogrammed LV hardware. It was in this room that my companion, Noel pointed out that a bag was actually dated, taking the current personalisation trend to a whole new level. Who, we pondered between us, would and could wear this? Would they collect them like works or art or do the super rich Vuitton ladies simply discarded them at the season’s end for the latest model? It was at this point we all realised we were in a world far above any of our means and that we should just shut up and admire these beautiful objects in their beautiful glass display cabinets before taking afternoon tea in its super chic restaurant complete with views of the Thames.
But this was a running theme for me during my visit. As a cultural/fashion theorist & historian, I found myself at complete odds, the fashionista in me lapping up every second of this stunning world of technology meets luxury fashion, while the theorist in me questioned the effect of this exhibition on the ‘ordinary’ people it pulls through its door with its free entry and promise of luxury lifestyle.
The aim is without a doubt to create desire and its inclusion techniques such as mirrored walls and live demonstrations of the bags being made meant that by the end I found myself feeling like an extra in a Hollywood budget advertisement for Vuitton. Lord, even the ‘security’ are well spoken, sharp dressed (Vuitton one naturally assumes) bilingual hunks resembling a cross bred from men-in-black suits meets David Gandy charm, who can answer almost any question you pose to them on the brand or Ghesquière without so much as a seconds hesitation.
But then I think that’s exactly the point. Vuitton is after one of the worlds biggest luxury brands and attention to detail is at the core of the brands heritage.
In addition, exhibitions like this ARE about inclusion and most fashion exhibitions these days work on sponsorship where your gaze is directed in a certain way to a brand, so for that I concluded Vuitton can not be marked down. The innovative ways in which they have combined technology, fashion and luxury must be applauded as the finished result is a feast for the eyes, ears and soul for any fashion lover or indeed anybody interest in any of the above.
It’s effect is that it leaves you wanting…..well, more! There’s an old saying, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and believe me, while there might be a poster, entry and stickers all given as gifts, you’ll leave wanting to spend your hard earned bucks on at least a dozen things, and, as a heritage brand that won’t disappear any time soon Vuitton have recognised the power of ‘tomorrow’s sale’ . The accompanying # and the descision to let visitorsshare their experience by allowing photographs and filming creates mass promotion and the creation of desire among people who couldn’t make it to London to visit, while allowing Vuitton a view through the spectators eye.
The King is Dead. Long live the King.