Louis Vuitton Time Capsule Exhibition in Melb /「路易威登」墨爾本展覽
「路易威登」墨爾本展覽 / Louis Vuitton Time Capsule Exhibition, Melbourne
Article by Alexia Petsinis [Contributing Writer] , Images courtesy of Louis Vuitton
Ground Floor, Chadstone – The Fashion Capital
February 24th to March 21st, 2018
Open daily / Free Admission
On the evening of February 23rd, under the glass-domed roof of Melbourne’s Chadstone shopping precinct, Louis Vuitton launched the Time Capsule exhibition: a curation of archival objects celebrating a series of landmark moments from the House’s 164 year history. Guests were treated to an intimate preview of the exhibition’s six key ‘rooms’; embarking on a sensory journey through time and space as they discovered the intrinsic essence of “The Art of Travel”, via the carefully curated selection of luggage, bags, accessories, grooming and lifestyle items. Melbourne is the first city in the Oceania region to host the exhibition, boasting one of the biggest collections of archival objects in the history of the Time Capsule initiative.
The evolution of design has being nothing short of breath-taking during the last century especially in the luxury arena. Achieved through technological innovation and the ongoing desire for sensory stimulation, few fashion houses have celebrated the exploratory spirit quite like Louis Vuitton. Be it, a play on an iconic silhouette, to an emblematic creation or exquisite craftsmanship, the house exemplifies a journey of discovery that traverses both the physical and emotional dimensions of time and space. Fiona Mackenzie, Chadstone General Manager said, “We continue to look for opportunities to push retail boundaries and bring our customers new and exciting ways to explore brands and to create an inspired entertainment destination. We look forward to connecting our customers to Louis Vuitton through this exclusive experience.”
As we entered the dimly lit exhibition site, especially constructed for the initiative, one was overcome by a sense of awe. On observing the contrast of heritage treasures with contemporary and technological design aesthetics. Our adventure began in the ‘Artisan’s room’ where the balmy air was permeated by the unmistakable scent of leather, visitors experienced a rare encounter with Louis Vuitton’s craftsmen and women creating the iconic Petite Malle bag. On a workbench laden with swatches, tools and implements that would be found in the House’s ateliers in France, the artisans worked with painstaking precision crafting the objects d’art from the finest natural cowhide leather, Épi leather and Monogram Empreinte. Their quest for perfection appeared all-absorbing, yet strangely effortless. Guests marvelled at an artisan crafting the Petite Malle as though the tools were an extension of her hands.
One room connected to the next as fluidly as an expression of time, while guests sauntered on to discover ‘The Key to the Codes’. The exhibition space highlighted a series of design features such as adorning hardware, materials and patterns integral to the House’s DNA. Items included the Mail Trunk in a Trianon grey canvas and the Alma Bag in Épi leather conveyed Louis Vuitton’s innovative vision in combining the practical and the poetic; with the coated canvas being the first waterproof material of it’s kind developed by the House. One only has to spend a few moments in this particular space to appreciate the extent to which the distinctive colour palettes, silhouette and fastenings have been reinterpreted from one collection and seasonal style to the next; serving as both cornerstones of the House’s design practise and continuing sources of inspiration.
Louis Vuitton perceives, more so than any other luxury brand, that a journey of any kind begins first and foremost with a spirit of curiosity and a yearning for adventure. As guests continued to file into the wide corridors lined with moving footage of sea, air and rail travel-scapes. Evoking an elegant and functional response to the ever-changing demands of the ‘traveller’ became apparent. Featured in this spectacle of ‘Journey’s around the World’ were key creations from the House, such as the 1923 Car Trunk which inspired countless Louis Vuitton products, the 1939 Aviette leather trunk created in response to the need for lighter luggage pieces for air travel. This facet of the exhibition captured the striking manner in which Vuitton’s heritage combined with functional design; encouraged one to consider the beauty of their own journey in the context of where they have come from, and indeed, where they are going.
It is lesser known that, a young Louis Vuitton began his artisanal career as Empress Eugenie’s favoured emballeur, a position akin to an expert in the art of packaging. Moving into the intimate confines of the ‘Elegance in Motion’ rooms, this notion of immaculate presentation and personal grooming was evident in every gleaming display. The custom-made cases contained a variety of client’s personal belongings including makeup, perfume, jewellery whiskey bottles and even board games; ensuring they travelled in style at all times. Fittingly presented among these cases are bottles of the House’s evocative parfum collection launched in 2016, which capture the breadth of emotions associated with the physical and spiritual ‘journey.’
As the chatter of the cocktail party held upstairs became livelier, guests in the exhibition below appeared to lose all sense of time and place; musing, meandering, before coming face to face with the ‘Icons of the House.’ This significance of the curated room was to pay homage, a shrine-like display of Louis Vuitton’s most celebrated creations and collaborations; where each transposed the notion of the coveted objects d’art into a fashion context. A Monogram canvas shoe trunk owned by Gaston-Louis Vuitton from 1926 remains a treasured hallmark of the House’s personalised bags; a concept revisited in recent initiatives such as the My LV World Tour in which a variety of patches could be applied to the signature leather goods achieving their unique customisations. Bags from the House’s 2017 ‘Masters’ collaboration with world-renowned contemporary artist Jeff Koons also take pride of place; emerging as the very embodiment of Louis Vuitton’s bold combination of historical grandeur and contemporary identity.
So, where would one possibly find themselves at the conclusion of their journey through the Time Capsule? The answer was simple: ‘Magic Malle’. Assuming its name from the French work for ‘trunk’ (malle), this room offered a highly immersive encounter with the visual and creative universe of Louis Vuitton. Where a giant Malle rested regally front in centre of the blackened room, illuminated after a few moments with video footage of the House’s runway shows, collection previews and iconic celebrity moments. Whilst inside the room, one was overcome with a sense of resolution, having arrived at what appeared to be between the present and possible future. The final spectacle in the Time Capsule exhibition evoked the sentiments of Louis Vuitton’s current Artistic Director Nicolas Ghesquière, who reflected on the identity of the House as it endures to this day: ‘The inspiring history that looks to the future and to the world. The quest for authenticity and innovation. The desire for timelessness. Does not every designer ultimately seek to create something timeless?’ Indeed, to overcome time through art, through a rich heritage; which every Louis Vuitton creation encapsulates.
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