Opening to the public tomorrow, March 9th, at Les Arts Décoratifs is the much-anticipated exhibition Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs. Curated by Pamela Golbin with the creative consultation of Katie Grand and set design by Gainsbury and Bennett, the multimedia exhibition tells the stories of two men, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs (artistic director of LV), and highlights their numerous contributions to the fashion world. It’s an examination of two very distinct personalities, and how they have each appropriated cultural phenomena and codes to write the history of contemporary fashion.
More of an analysis rather than a retrospective, this parallel Vuitton-Jacobs comparison provides new insight into the fashion system during its pivotal periods, beginning with its industrialization and ending with its globalization. There is also a focus on the industry’s artistic professions and crafts, highlighting its technological advances over time, as well as the stylistic creations and artistic collaborations; offering a taste of how a luxury brand is born — and transformed — for the modern age.
The first floor of the vast exhibition examines the 19th-century world of steamer trunks inhabited by founder Louis Vuitton, revealing the history and inception of the brand during a time when affluent women would require dozens of trunks during a long voyage. In addition to the trunks themselves, and in some cases their contents, artifacts such as order ledgers and product catalogs are displayed, as well as period dress of the time. The second floor is devoted to the Jacobs era, dating back to 1997, and features a dramatic change in ambiance and set design. There are walls of back-lit images and videos, handbags presented as if they are the contents of a gigantic chocolate box, and myriad lighting and sound effects, including some narration by Jacobs himself.
Over a century separates Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, but both come together in the sheer excellence of their creativity. When asked by WWD if he sees any parallels between himself and his predecessor, Monsieur Vuitton, Jacobs responded, “It’s a question of obsession, and a passion for getting things right,” quickly adding, “and a love of craft.”
Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs
9 March–16 September 2012
Les Arts Décoratifs – Mode et textile
107 rue de Rivoli 75001 / +33 (0)144555750
Photos: © Louis Vuitton / Archives