The l'Orangerie had come highly recommended by a number of friends, including Zoe at McGill Duncan Gallery so that was high on my list, as was the Rodin Museum, recommended by my Gran as a highlight of her visit twenty or so years ago! Surprisingly, the other place at the top of my list was an exhibition about Louis Vuitton, I say surprisingly as I'm not exactly a high fashion devotee. I found out about the exhibition here. All I knew about Louis Vuitton was that lots of people seem to have Louis Vuitton embossed handbags which say nothing to me about fashion and everything about how much money they want people to think they've spent on said bag. Oh, and at the other extreme, the beautiful luggage seen in Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Unlimited (one of the highlights of a disappointing film).
|Photograph my own.|
However this exhibition, at the Musee Carnavalet, has completely changed my perceptions of the company and brand. The company began in 1834 in Paris with the first store opening in 1854. The exhibition goes deeply into the history of the company and the aims and beliefs of the Vuitton family who set up and ran the business. Interestingly even from the beginning there was a real awareness of history, of archiving their own history and looking further back into history, as tools for marketing and promotion. I think it was his son who researched and wrote a history of luggage through the ages and in addition to items deigned by Vuitton the exhibition also included examples of sources for inspiration for some of the designs. There were so many stunning examples of suitcases, vanity cases, tea cabinets, travel wardrobes etc but unfortunately you couldn't take photographs - which, given my complete lack of photography skills is no huge loss - instead I will share with you this promotional video for the exhibition. One of my favourites was a suitcase filled with hairbrushes, all of which fitted exactly into their own slots to stop them becoming dislodged in travel, and even better... when you looked at it upside down all the handles of the brushes made up a Manhattan skyline - genius! The exhibition was laid out beautifully as you can see in the video and I suppose it all works as very effective promotion for the company but heck, what's wrong with promotion when it's so enjoyable!