One of the reasons I visited Paris recently was to check out the Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs exhibition at Les Arts Decoratifs, which depicts the history of Louis Vuitton from its origins in nineteenth century Paris to the Marc Jacobs-helmed power house it is today. The exhibition is super fun and not too long (all the better to get to the gift shop, my dear). As to be expected from a fashion exhibition, it mainly consists of clothes and bags albeit displayed in – what can only be described as innovative – ways that both bring the pieces to life and educate the visitor.
Whilst we think of branding and consumerism as modern inventions, Louis Vuitton was a marketing pioneer. Vuitton Sr started out in the late 1800s making trunks, ensuring that each one was clearly branded with his name, whilst his son went on to create – and patent – the monogram LV pattern and, as soon as the technology made it possible, he began stamping it into the leather. Suddenly that monogram Louis Vuitton bag seems more than just last season huh? Just kidding. The guy was a genius.
Louis Vuitton would also regularly exhibit at Napolean’s Expositions in Paris, to show off his latest wares and inventions (including a bed that folds into a trunk). But no matter how eccentric – or expensive – the items he exhibited, he always ensured that anything on display was available to buy. By the time I left the museum I was as much an admirer of Vuitton’s business sense as I was of his fashion sense. Sadly, the modern house of Louis Vuitton hadn’t quite absorbed this business savvy as, despite my high hopes, the gift shop at Les Arts Decoratifs was practically devoid of any exhibit-related merchandise, which was the only disappointing part of the visit. Anyway, keep reading for more pics and an awesome short film!
In fairness to Louis Vuitton though, the only gift shop item I would have wanted was this Marc Jacobs doll anyway, and I doubt that would have been for sale!
The exhibition also included this short film, which was made to celebrate the collaboration of Louis Vuitton and Murakami. The pandas are so cute!