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Louis Vuitton’s first Maison Opens in Shanghai

Louis Vuitton, Shanghai, Fall/Winter 2012 show

Louis Vuitton autumn/winter 2012 show in Shanghai

The past few months have been jam packed with fashion events in Beijing, but the one everyone is talking about is the opening of Louis Vuitton’s first maison in Shanghai last week. It’s been a while since Vuitton held an event of this scale in China, so we were expecting something spectacular – and we weren’t wrong! There were so many reasons to celebrate from Marc Jacobs’ first visit to Vuitton’s 20th anniversary in China. Then there was the re-staging of the incredible autumn/winter 2012 show – but I’ll get to that later.

Plaza 66, Louis Vuitton, Shanghai

The facade of the first Louis Vuitton Maison in Shanghai

The two-day festivities kicked off with the opening of the Vuitton’s first maison in China at Shanghai’s famed Plaza 66, which is home to every luxury brand imaginable. While the store first opened  in 2001 (the brand has 41 stores on mainland China), the new boutique is unique in terms of its size and the “experience” it offers customers.

Louis Vuitton, Maison, Shanghai, China, Plaza 66

Inside the Louis Vuitton Maison, Plaza 66, Shanghai

Spanning four floors, it has dedicated salons to men’s wear, women’s wear and private orders. There are also several outdoor terraces and an apartment on the top floor where super-rich Chinese can custom order everything from bags to trunks. Despite the store’s size, it still feels intimate and exclusive (hats off to architect, the perpetually leather-clad Peter Marino). Also dotted throughout are unique artworks by Chinese artists Gao Weigang and Qiu Zhijie.

Louis Vuitton, Shanghai, Plaza 66, Louis Vuitton Express Exhibition

The Louis Vuitton Express exhibition

To commemorate the opening, Vuitton also unveiled the “Louis Vuitton Express” exhibition outside the boutique, which pays tribute to its heritage and association with the art of travel. The multi-media exhibition displays some of the house’s most stunning creations from a steamer bag owned by Gaston-Louis Vuitton (circa 1901) to trunks including the Stokowski (circa 1930) which includes a fold out desk. Iconic ready-to-wear pieces such as the nurse outfits from the Richard Prince fashion show, are also on display.

Louis Vuitton, Shanghai

Louis Vuitton, Shanghai

Marc Jacobs, Fan Bing Bing, Louis Vuitton, China, Shanghai, Plaza 66

The fashion show (top and middle); Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing and Marc Jacobs (above)

Of course the event everyone was waiting for was the fashion show, which was held on Thursday evening at a special location near Shanghai’s iconic Bund.  The autumn/winter show held during Paris Fashion Week in March was replicated to the finest detail – even the custom made train carriage was transported all the way to Shanghai via railway.

At the stroke of 9pm, the Shanghai-Paris express pulled into a large warehouse, into full view of celebrities such as Alexa Chung, Fan Bing Bing and Clemence Poesy. The models descended wearing retro-style coats and cropped trousers decorated with crystal flowers and every embellishment imaginable. Beside them, porters carried luggage made from luxe skins such as python, crocodile, and mink. Afterwards the crowd moved into a cool lounge overlooking the spectacular Huangpu river, where Lana Del Rey performed. At 1am the party was just getting started!

Louis Vuitton, Shanghai, Lana del Rey

Lana del Rey performing

The Louis Vuitton Express exhibition will be held until August 18th 2012. To view an exclusive video of the event visit www.louisvuittonexpress.com.

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