Photography courtesy of Brad Dickson, Dylan Kelly, and Louis Vuitton.
A glistening white castle at the peak of Rodeo Drive houses a one-of-a-kind exhibition where guests embark on a visual journey through the intricate history of the remarkable French fashion house Louis Vuitton. As you take your first steps inside the grand glowing gates, you are greeted by the exhibit’s polite personnel who usher you towards the first room where a portrait of a 16-year-old Louis Vuitton stands before you. If only the naive apprentice sitting calmly in that painting knew of the extraordinary empire he was about to build under his name.
Standing as a celebration of the 160 years of Louis Vuitton’s creative pioneering and artistic collaboration, Louis Vuitton X then brings you back to the 1920s for an up-close look at some of the designer’s first custom pieces in the next room. You’re welcomed with some of the designer’s first perfume bottle silhouettes and storefront window displays. As you scan the room, you discover vintage orders of custom trunks and his angular furniture designs beautifully displayed by the back wall.
Keep walking and you’ll enter a dimly-lit room lined with windows on every inch of the wall. Here is where the fashion showcases Louis Vuitton’s collaborations with other prestigious designers across the years. The combination of the world’s greatest creative minds reinvented and transformed the traditional bags and motifs into iconic, one-of-a-kind pieces. Take a look at a punching bag crafted with Karl Lagerfeld, a photographer’s trunk made with Cindy Sherman, a DJ’s record case in cooperation with Helmut Lang, or a bag-as-sculpture with Zaha Hadid. These masterpieces showcase the talent of each of these designers and the level of luxury they hold themselves to. It’s stunning.
A massively colourful wall lights the way into the next room, where signature looks and luminous interpretations take over the classic monogram on the Maison’s modern luggage. Look up-and-down and side-to-side across this vast wall of artistic transformation with the likes of Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, and Jeff Koons. With moving visuals and colored coordination, it’s hard to take your eyes off this noble expo.
Art meets fashion in the next two rooms, where Vuitton’s textile designs line the walls on beautiful canvas and artistic outfits stand in bright booths, showcasing the House’s creative partnerships. See collaborations with visionaries including Stephen Sprouse, Richard Prince, Marc Jacobs, and Virgil Abloh in ways that alter the traditional Louis Vuitton form. Whether it’s art collaborating with fashion or vice versa, the designer’s commitment to creative exploration is paramount in the unwavering innovation the brand is known for.
The Pink Room is next, and you definitely can’t miss it. 31 beautiful looks designed by Nicolas Ghesquière, Artistic Director of Women’s collections, for Hollywood’s biggest stars take center stage in their original form. Emma Stone’s long, embroidered Met Gala dress stands tall next to Alicia Vikander’s silk evening gown worn to the Golden Globe Awards. Each dress speaks to the House’s incredible ability to instill each star’s personal character into the modern silhouettes that make it down the carpet. The unprecedented skill and extraordinary attention to detail of Ghesquière truly come to life as you admire each dress standing before you.
A walk through an incredible, century and a half journey can only make you excited for what’s to come next. The latest addition to Louis Vuitton’s creative collaborations, Artycapucines, is presented in the next, and final, room. This collection is a limited-edition range of Capucines, the Maison’s iconic bag named after the street where Louis Vuitton opened his first store. Each bag undergoes a visual transformation through the idiosyncratic imaginations of contemporary artists Alex Israel, Urs Fischer, Jonas Wood, Nicholas Hlobo, Tschabalala Self, and Sam Falls. Their interpretations take direct inspiration from their own art pieces, and the results are something special.
After letting the art of the House sink in, head up a grand pink staircase to a pop-up store and bright outdoor balcony to pay tribute to the modern interpretations of the brand’s legacy. You’ll be given a pin from the exhibit on your way out to commemorate your experience with Louis Vuitton X, a token of the brand’s exceptional hospitality. If you want to take a trip through the years of Louis Vuitton and experience each room yourself, the exhibition will be open until September 16, 2019, and trust me, it’s worth every second.