Behind Louis Vuittton are hidden two personalities and two professions which have succeeded one another, and can be discovered in the exhibition « Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs » at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, until September 16th 2012.
Louis Vuitton launched his trade in 1854. Marc Jacobs, for his part, was chosen as artistic director in 1997, over 150 years later ! The emblematic models from the designer’s brand are staged on the second floor of the exhibition.
Making Louis Vuitton “fashionable”
Arriving at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs must introduce the first ready-to-wear and accessories collections of the brand. Straight-away, he considers creating a new universe, flashy and “glamorous”, in parallel to the very classical style of the brand. The sophisticated and timeless world of the house thus mixes with a fashionable world. “Vuitton is not a fashion house. We make fashionable things, we introduced the idea of fashion, which evolves with the moods of the moment and the icons of the popular culture. Yet the soul of the brand remains unchanged and unchangeable, so much the better”, explains Marc Jacobs.
However, Louis Vuitton’s designer enjoys an unlimited freedom of expression, working thanks to the exchanges with his artistic team and his own impulses.
Louis Vuitton, the trunk-maker
The first floor of the exhibition presents the original activity of the brand : trunk-packing. For Louis Vuitton is not a designer but the specialist of the packing “of fashionable clothes”, inspired by the fashion designer Charles-Fréderick Worth, whom he knows. The strategic location of his shop at the 1, rue Scribe, in the fashion and luxury neighbourhood, also helps him build up a reputation. Barons, Counts, Marquis and Princesses succeeded each other in his order books, as well as celebrities like Sarah Bernhardt.
After the death of Louis Vuitton in 1892, it is his son George who will create in 1896 the famous monogram “LV”.
The writing of fashion
The exhibition also shows how the fashion system built itself throughout these two lives. To each era, its phenomenon : industrialisation for the first, globalisation for the second. Which strongly influenced the evolution of art crafts, techniques, creation and artistic collaborations.
Today, creative talent is not the only requirement demanded by the major brands. Designers must now be more effective in artistic direction, marketing and communication at the same time.
Nathalia Bienvenu-Kapferer, April 2012
Traduction : Julie Carpentier
Photos credits : Les Arts Décoratifs
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107, rue de Rivolis, 75 001 Paris
Open from tuesday to sunday, from 11am to 6pm
Exhibition catalogue (24x30cm, 300 pages) : 55 euros