Blue-y Vuitton (above)
Whenever I am in Paris I always make time to visit whatever fashion exhibitions are on. While 2010’s Yves Saint Laurent retrospective has been my ultimate favourite so far, I really enjoyed Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs which opened at the Les Arts Decoratifs at the end of Fashion Week (along with plenty of celebs including Twilight lovers Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattinson and Sarah Jessica Parker).
The exhibition is unique in that it was not just about the brand or it’s history – instead it tells the story of two men that have defined the house –founder Louis Vuitton and creative director Marc Jacobs.
Perfect Trunks (above)
Sprawling two floors of the museum, the journey begins on the first floor with Louis’ story. Visitors are lead through an incredible showcase of Vuitton’s history explored through a collection of rare trunks including a doll trunk complete with a trousseau (circa 1865), the innovative Explorer’s bed trunk which was made for the Universal Exhibition (circa 1891) and his first trunk made from a grey waterproof canvas called Gris trianon (Fun fact: The monogram came much later, and was designed by Vuitton’s son, George). While it’s amazing to see so many rare and unique trunks in one room, this section isn’t super exciting although it provides a great background to the company and its founder.
Marc’s World (above)
It’s only when you are lead upstairs and into Marc’s World, that the real fun starts. You’re met with real life Tumblr wall complete with pop culture references, animated videos and images, all handpicked by Jacobs. It’s a camp fest, with scenes from his favourite films including The First Wives Club and Marie Antoinette, while his design heroes Miuccia Prada and Rei Kawakubo and style icons like Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Streisand and David Bowie also feature.
Scattered throughout the rest of the second floor are different vitrines showcasing his ready-to-wear. Everything is categorised thematically with cheeky titles such as “From Hair to Eternity,” “Put on your Sunday clothes,” and “Blue-y Vuitton.” The mannequins come to life – one is housed on a cage on all fours wearing the same fetish outfit that Kate Moss wore during the autumn/winter 2010 show, while other dolls have animal heads instead. There are also exhibits dedicated to his successful commercial collaborations with artists including Takahashi Murakami, Stephen Spouse and Richard Prince, the latter of which includes a series of robotic nurses.
Richard Prince (top) and Kage Moss (above)
One of my favourite displays is the life-sized “Chocolate Box” featuring 53 handbags, including a white monogram style from Jacobs’ first runway show in 1998. It’s a trip to see his creations over the years from his Amah-style red and blue trolley bags to the Tribute Patchwork bag (which I had already banned from my memory!)
Jacobs’ voice can be heard throughout the exhibition as he tells different anecdotes about the collaborations and collections he has worked on for 15 years. At the end a doll-sized replica of the designer wearing a Comme des Garcons kilt, Prada shoes and of course a Vuitton bag bids guests farewell.
Chocolate Box (above)
It’s definitely worth a visit but not just for a history lesson. The best part of it all is being able to delve into the mind of one of the 21st century’s fashion geniuses.
Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs in on until 16 September 2012, www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr