L.V.M.J. exhibition at Les Arts Decoratifs

I am always intrigued by how designers and their brands develop and evolve. I love to find out what these designers went through even before they launched their first collections because that is usually when their label begins to take shape.

Everyone has heard of Louis Vuitton, but not everyone knows the story behind the brand and the person.  The current exhibition at Les Arts Decoratifs brings the past and the present together with the exhibition Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs.  The exhibition explores the creativity of two designers for Louis Vuitton; Marc Jacobs who has been designing for the brand since 1997 and founder Louis Vuitton.

The two-storey exhibition space is created such that the first floor examines the life of founder Louis Vuitton and the second floor runs through the growth of Louis Vuitton in Marc Jacob’s hands.

Life of Louis Vuitton:

1821- Born in the village of Anchay as a son of a carpenter.
1835- At 14, Louis Vuitton left his native Jura in the East of France, to travel on foot to Paris.
When in Paris, Vuitton became an apprentice packer, box and trunk-maker with the firm of Maréchal in the rue Saint Honoré in the first district of the capital.
Vuitton was employed to pack clothes for wealthy ladies before they embarked on long journeys. Within ten years he had become such a master in the art of packing that he would regularly accompany his master Romain Maréchal to the Tuileries Palace where they worked as exclusive packers to the Empress Eugénie and her ladies-in-waiting.

One section of the exhibition explores the themes of Volume and Invention; seven mannequins showed just how much clothing an affluent lady had to pack, with a need for undergarments and four outfits (morning, afternoon, visiting and evening ball).  In those days when skirts can be created out of seven metres of material, a single trip may require 20 to 30 trunks.  After learning about this portion of Louis Vuitton’s history, it sure makes sense that he delved into trunks for travelling.
Known for his innovativeness, Vuitton introduced lighter trunks made of poplar or pinewood with an elegant grey-painted canvas that was waterproof when varnished.  As counterfeits grew in numbers, designs became focused on the goal of thwarting imitations.
His predecessor, Marc Jacobs, has a strong focus on contemporary artists. Some of the collaborations include:
2001- Collaboration with artist and fashion designer, Stephen Sprouse to rework the traditional L.V. monogram into a graffiti line for Spring Summer 2001
2002- Collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to create an artwork that was used in the series of handbags. (Remember the Cherry Blossom, Cherry and Eye Love monograms?)
2008- Collaboration with American Photographer, Richard Prince. Inspired by Princes, ‘Nurse Painting’, Marc Jacobs uses nurses in masks to potray the one ‘Vuitton Woman’. He created the Monogram Jokes series and the Monogram Pulp collection.
The exhibition ends with a “Peepshow’ where visitors are invited to watch a fashion show (of Marc Jacob’s works) through a peephole.
If you happen to be in Paris, do visit the exhibition.  It is on show now till 16th Sept 2012.

Les Arts Décoratifs
107, rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris


Read more about the exhibition here!
X Alex
(All images from wwd)

About fashionartisan
Bringing out the art in fashion

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