i learned something very important last weekend. you don’t have to love fashion to love louis vuitton. the design house’s new exhibit, volez, voguez, voyagez, showcases a brand centered on functionality and beautiful craftsmanship.
louis vuitton started his company in 1854 specializing in trunks for travel. i’m sure you’ve seen these iconic pieces, but few know their history. louis vuitton trunks were actually precursors to today’s luggage, key players in modern travel.
the volez, voguez, voyagez exhibit is tucked away in the american stock exchange building in new york city. from start to finish, it blew my mind. here’s why it’s epic:
the exhibit spans three floors
the exhibit is huge. i couldn’t believe all the curated pieces, including travel pieces from the 1800s to the recent collection with jeff koons. there was correspondence between the vuitton family about production and even louis vuitton’s early sketches. i really enjoyed the customized trunks — they all spoke to a traveler’s individual needs.
i got a fresh perspective on modern travel and luxury
at one point, onrae asked, “who was carrying these huge pieces of luggage?!?” my response: servants or slaves. some of the trunks would have easily weighed over 100 pounds, packed to the brim with clothes, accessories and other items for long-distance travel. in the early years, only the elite could afford travel for pleasure, and they certainly weren’t carrying their own baggage. even before louis vuitton was considered a luxury brand, it became synonymous with the elite.
3. marc jacobs revolutionized the brand
if you’re a student of fashion, then you know a thing or two about marc jacobs’ time as creative director at louis vuitton. there were the epic collaborations with artists like yayoi kusama, stephen sprouse and takashi murakami. plus, he created the line’s first ready-to-wear collection that featured greats like naomi campbell on the runway. he and lil kim are super tight, and her head-to-toe louis vuitton look for photographer dave lachapelle is still epic.
4. the exhibit is for everyone
whether you’re visiting with a bae who hates fashion or your young children, everyone will appreciate the volez, voguez, voyagez exhibit. it’s a walk through history. the exhibit is beautifully curated and really feels like you’re traveling through time.
5. i fell head over heels in love with louis vuitton
i’m new to shopping luxury brands and didn’t have any real brand allegiance — prada, gucci, louis vuitton, all had the same appeal. that’s until last weekend. visiting the louis vuitton exhibit made me appreciate the brand soooo much more. from the history to functionality to craftsmanship, the story really resonated. i just got my first louis vuitton bag pre-loved, and it feels super special after visiting the exhibit.
one word of caution: be careful visiting the exhibit. once you go louis vuitton, you never go back.