© ARCHIVES LOUIS VUITTON MALLETIER
This Fall, “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez—Louis Vuitton,” a landmark exhibition opens at the former American Stock Exchange building in downtown Manhattan. Curated by Olivier Saillard and designed by Robert Carsen, it explores the history of the French house—which made its American debut in 1893, when its trunks traveled to Chicago to be exhibited at the World’s Fair—through a series of themed rooms, including one devoted to the U.S. and New York, and begins with LV’s most symbolic object: the trunk. The legacy of Louis Vuitton—one of the most revered and recognized luxury brands in the world—however, harks back to 1854, when a talented young craftsman by the same name set up his own atelier in Paris, making custom boxes and trunks for the French upper classes. The introduction of revolutionary flat-topped trunks four years later, made not from leather but lightweight, waterproof canvas that enabled them to be stacked and easily transported, quickly established Vuitton as the grand masters of modern luggage. Its reputation was solidified by century’s end, when Louis Vuitton’s son, Georges, created LV’s signature Monogram canvas, featuring the company’s initials and quatrefoil flowers inspired by the Oriental motifs popular in the Victorian era.
In homage to the company’s 163-year history and the unveiling of the exhibition,Bazaar celebrates the story of Louis Vuitton and its longstanding relationship with America. The early days saw merchant John Wanamaker become the first to sell LV Stateside; Ernest Hemingway commissioned his own library trunk in 1927, a marvel of secret drawers that accompanied the famed author on his travels; and noted American families like the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, and the Hearsts became clients.
“Volez, Voguez, Voyagez—Louis Vuitton” will run October 27 through January 7, 2018, at 86 Trinity Place.