Tuesday 31 January 2012

Louis Vuitton Celebrates 100 Legendary Trunks

"Show me your luggage and I'll tell you who you are"

Louis Vuitton Celebrates 100 Legendary Trunks
For 150 years, the Louis Vuitton trunk has crossed time and borders. In celebration of the art of travel, Louis Vuitton is proud to present their exceptional new book LOUIS VUITTON: 100 LEGENDARY TRUNKS and a coinciding exhibition at the Carnavalet museum in Paris.
New York, NY (PRWEB) November 10, 2010

This 1921 Louis Vuitton advertising slogan perfectly evokes the intimate relationship that every traveler has with his trunks and luggage. From trains and legendary ocean liners, to automobiles and the first aircraft, the Louis Vuitton trunk has crossed time and borders. In 1854, Louis Vuitton, “layetier, trunk-maker, and packer,” offered a modern trunk that combined pragmatism and elegance, perfectly adapted to the current means of transport and changes in the lives his clients led. The House of Vuitton has served explorers and adventurers, princes, dandies, elegant ladies, and artists of all kinds. The Maharaja of Baroda, Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, Douglas Fairbanks, Ernest Hemingway, Jeanne Lanvin -even Damien Hirst and Sharon Stone have traveled with Vuitton.

The House of Vuitton is now proud to present LOUIS VUITTON: 100 LEGENDARY TRUNKS, published November 2010.

This exceptional book, with a preface by Patrick-Louis Vuitton, show-cases the most beautiful creations of the House through more than eight hundred photographs. The trunk-bed, steamer trunk, tea case, toiletry kit, circus trunk, library trunk, and caviar box are just a few of the many incredible pieces featured here, along with the equally incredible stories of their creation. A full technical survey, the bible of the artisanal trunkmaker, reveals the secrets of making a Louis Vuitton trunk. The exclusive edition for Louis Vuitton stores features a silkscreened cover and hard slipcase printed with Monogram canvas, reinterpreted from the 1896 original pattern.

From the first domed trunks to the most modern designs produced in the workshops of Asnières today, the spirit of the House of Louis Vuitton is still driven by the same reputation for excellence and expertise - and a desire to elevate travel to an art.

From October 13, 2010 to February 27, 2011, the Parisian luxury house is staging an exhibition at the Carnavalet museum: Voyage En Capitale: Louis Vuitton and Paris

Around the iconic trunks and luggages brought together for the first time, the Carnavalet museum is showcasing the saga of Louis Vuitton Malletier, which has embodied the art of travel for more than 150 years. The visitors will discover the treasures of Louis Vuitton’s heritage collections, juxtaposed with works from the museum’s collections or on loan from The National Library of France, The Decorate Arts or the City of Paris Historical library, situating the famous trunk-maker in the capital’s artistic and cultural history.

The exhibition thus reveals the history of the House and the Louis Vuitton family with its boundless curiosity. It brings to light a unique know-how paired with ongoing technical research and outlines a history of design through the artistic collaborations initiated at the awn of the 20th century and continued ever since.

About Louis Vuitton
The world leader in luxury, Louis Vuitton has been synonymous with the art of stylish travel since 1854. Since 1997, with the arrival of the designer Marc Jacobs, it has extended its expertise to women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, shoes, watches and jewelery, combining traditional craftsmanship with flair and innovation to create a complete lifestyle experience. Since 1987, it has been part of LVMH/Moet Hennessy. Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest and most luxury goods group directed by Bernard Arnault. Today, Louis Vuitton has an exclusive networks of stores worldwide.

100 Legendary Trunks Video

LOUIS VUITTON 100 Legendary Trunks by Pierre Leonforte - Collecting Loui...

Monday 30 January 2012

Remembering the "Voyage en Capitale" - Louis Vuitton et Paris - Exhibition at Musée Carnavalet ...

Louis Vuitton At Musée Carnavalet
Text: Emily Sands-Bonin
Image: Jacques-Henri Lartigue / Ministry of Culture – France / AAJHL

The curators of 'Voyage en Capitale: Louis Vuitton & Paris', which runs until February next year at the Musée Carnavalet, could not have chosen a more illustrious Parisian setting. Nestled in the chic Marais district, the Musée is comprised of the ancien Hôtel Carnavalet, where Madame de Sévigné penned her letters (later quoted to Marcel Proust by his literary grandmother), and the ancien Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. Once the seat of the ill-fated Michel-Étienne Le Peletier, a noble with revolutionary pretensions (an early bobo), who voted enthusiastically for the execution of Louis XVI in 1793. His fatal stabbing by a royalist sympathizer, as he sat peacefully at a café, earned him eternal glory, as well as his depiction in a pieta-like drawing by Jacques-Louis David.

Hosting 'Voyage en Capitale' is a golden opportunity for the Carnavalet, which, like most museums, is probably sorely in need of a blockbuster exhibition. As indeed it is for Louis Vuitton, for whom association with one of the most stately and venerable of the smaller Parisian museums, with the holiday season in full swing, can only be a good thing. For Vuitton the exhibition represents a further chance to lump the history of the company, which began with the opening of Louis Vuitton’s first boutique in 1854, in with the history of Paris and France.

The entrance to the exhibition illuminates the grey November afternoon light, its white glow like an open Macbook glimpsed in a dark café. It beckons to the throngs of Louis Vuitton fans and curious tourists, drawing them into a world of luxury, ambition and timeless elegance. Inside the visitor is confronted by a long corridor of 18th century Parisian street signs that once hung over wine shops and butchers, as well as a musty model of the quartier Saint Merri pre-Centre Pompidou.

The pedagogical aspects of the exhibition serve to illustrate Louis Vuitton’s central place in the artistic and social trends of late 19th and 20th century French society. On display are the crinoline hoop-skirts of the Empress Eugenie, the original “It Girl”, who commissioned Vuitton to make her travelling cases. At the Expositions Universelles that took place four times in Paris between 1867 and 1900, as well as the World’s Fair held in Paris in 1925, Vuitton’s company was recognized as unsurpassed in quality and style. The curators of the exhibition detail Vuitton’s stylistic inspirations, from Viollet-le-Duc’s cathedral restorations, which influenced his Gothic sketches of trunks, to japonisme at the end of the 19th century, which brought us Vuitton’s iconic LV-et-fleur motif. The popular interest in art primitif inspired the glass perfume bottles engraved with geometric shapes found in central African art and decoration.

The invention and distribution of the automobile led to custom-made trunks, as the very rich made use of this new, luxurious mode of transport. A trunk containing a foldable camp bed reflected the interest in travel to exotic places outside the capitale, namely the wilds of Central Africa, at that time considered part of “la plus grande France". Indeed Vuitton had its own pavilion at the Exposition Coloniale Internationale, held in Paris in 1931.

The exhibition is most interesting and effective when illustrating the Belle Époque at the end of the 19th century, when France and its capital Paris represented the pinnacle of elegance and sophistication, with Louis Vuitton at their centre. The eye dazzles at the hatboxes and vanity cases filled with ornate sterling silver topped glass bottles, not to mention the trunks, many opened to display leather drawers and beautiful bronze buckles and latches. One large trunk for ladies’ shoes contains little drawers, each fastidiously labeled in pencil on yellowed handwritten cards: “gris foncé,” “noir,” and, in an excited, eager scrawl: “rouge.” Some lucky little girl growing up in the 1930s even had a Louis Vuitton case for her doll.

The exhibition conveniently skips the unglamorous and potentially embarrassing Occupation period, during which the Vuitton family collaborated with the puppet Vichy government. Towards the end the beautifully preserved trunks give way to more contemporary objects, such as the rather garish silver duffle bag, architect Zaha Hadid’s resin and leather Icon Bucket (2006), adorned with the LV insignia, and Karl Lagerfeld’s customized, red-lined Louis Vuitton iPod case. Lagerfeld’s white, five-year-old iPod inside it looks oddly quaint. The grainy black and white movies with ladies in white dresses and big hats and men on horses trotting jerkily to marching band music are replaced by today’s LV promotional videos, which look like trippy screen savers.

We meandered through the gilded rooms upstairs before heading out into the cold night. An imposing bronze statue of Louis XIV, the Sun King, standing in the middle of courtyard of the hotel surveyed our departure with equanimity. After all this time, he seemed to nod approvingly, France still sells.
By VINGT Paris on December 2, 2010

"Voyage en Capitale.Louis Vuitton & Paris" at Musée Carnavalet

Louis Vuitton Malletier

Famille Vuitton 1888

Louis Vuitton Malletier – commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton or shortened to LV – is a French fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The label is well known for its LV monogram, which is featured on most of its products - this ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewellery, accessories, sunglasses, and books. Louis Vuitton is one of the world's leading international fashion houses; it sells its products through standalone boutiques, lease departments in high-end department stores, and through the e-commerce section of its website
The Louis Vuitton label was founded by Vuitton in 1854 on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris, France. In 1858, Vuitton introduced his flat-bottom trunks with trianon canvas, making them lightweight and airtight. Before the introduction of Vuitton's trunks, rounded-top trunks were used, generally to promote water run off, and thus could not be stacked. It was Vuitton's gray Trianon canvas flat trunk that allowed the ability to stack with ease for voyages. Becoming successful and prestigious, many other luggagemakers began to imitate LV's style and design.

In 1867, the company participated in the universal exhibition in Paris. To protect against the duplication of his look, he changed the Trianon design to a beige and brown stripes design in 1876. By 1885, the company opened its first store in London, England on Oxford Street. Soon thereafter, due to the continuing imitation of his look, in 1888, the Damier Canvas pattern was created by Louis Vuitton, bearing a logo that reads "marque L. Vuitton déposée", which translates into "L. Vuitton registered trademark". In 1892, Louis Vuitton died, and the company's management passed to his son.

After the death of his father, Georges Vuitton began a campaign to build the company into a worldwide corporation, exhibiting the company's products at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. In 1896, the company launched the signature Monogram Canvas and made the worldwide patents on it. Its graphic symbols, including quatrefoils and flowers (as well as the LV monogram), were based on the trend of using Japanese and Oriental designs in the late Victorian era. The patents later proved to be successful in stopping counterfeiting. In this same year, Georges traveled to the United States, where he toured various cities (such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago), selling Vuitton products during the visit. In 1901, the Louis Vuitton Company introduced the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage designed to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks.

By 1913, the Louis Vuitton Building opened on the Champs-Elysees. It was the largest travel-goods store in the world at the time. Stores also opened in New York, Bombay, Washington, London, Alexandria, and Buenos Aires as World War I began. Afterwards, in 1930, the Keepall bag was introduced. During 1932, LV introduced the Noé bag. This bag was originally made for champagne vintners to transport bottles. Soon thereafter, the Louis Vuitton Speedy bag was introduced (both are still manufactured today). In 1936 Georges Vuitton died, and his son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, assumed control of the company.

During World War II, Louis Vuitton collaborated with the Nazis during the German occupation of France. The French book Louis Vuitton, A French Saga, authored by French journalist Stephanie Bonvicini and published by Paris-based Editions Fayard tells how members of the Vuitton family actively aided the puppet government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain and increased their wealth from their business affairs with the Germans. The family set up a factory dedicated to producing artifacts glorifying Pétain, including more than 2,500 busts.

Caroline Babulle, a spokeswoman for the publisher, Fayard, said: "They have not contested anything in the book, but they are trying to bury it by pretending it doesn't exist." Responding to the book's release in 2004, a spokesman for LVMH said: "This is ancient history. The book covers a period when it was family-run and long before it became part of LVMH. We are diverse, tolerant and all the things a modern company should be." An LVMH spokesman told the satirical magazine Le Canard Enchainé: "We don't deny the facts, but regrettably the author has exaggerated the Vichy episode. We haven't put any pressure on anyone. If the journalists want to censor themselves, then that suits us fine." That publication was the only French periodical to mention the book, LVMH is the country's biggest advertiser in the press.

1945 through 2000
During this period, Louis Vuitton incorporated its leather into most of its products, ranging from small purses and wallets to larger pieces of luggage. In order to broaden its line, the company revamped its signature Monogram Canvas in 1959 to make it more supple, allowing it to be used for purses, bags, and wallets. It is believed that in the 1920s, counterfeiting returned as a greater issue to continue on into the 21st century. In 1966, the Papillon was launched (a cylindrical bag that is still popular today). By 1977 with annual revenue up to 70 million Francs ($14.27 million US$). A year later, the label opened its first stores in Japan: in Tokyo and Osaka). In 1983, the company joined with America's Cup to form the Louis Vuitton Cup, a preliminary competition (known as an eliminatory regatta) for the yacht race. Louis Vuitton later expanded its presence in Asia with the opening of a store in Taipei, Taiwan in 1983 and Seoul, South Korea in 1984. In the following year, 1985, the Epi leather line was introduced.

1987 saw the creation of LVMH. Moët et Chandon and Hennessy, leading manufacturers of champagne and cognac, merged respectively with Louis Vuitton to form the luxury goods conglomerate. Profits for 1988 were reported to have been up by 49% more than in 1987. By 1989, Louis Vuitton came to operate 130 stores worldwide. Entering the 1990s, Yves Carcelle was named president of LV, and in 1992, his brand opened its first Chinese location at the Palace Hotel in Beijing. Further products became introduced such as the Taiga leather line in 1993, and the literature collection of Voyager Avec... in 1994. In 1996, the celebration of the Centennial of the Monogram Canvas was held in seven cities worldwide.

After introducing its pen collection in 1997, Louis Vuitton made Marc Jacobs alongside Jae its Art Directors the following year in 1998. In March of the following year, they designed and introduced the company's first "prêt-à-porter" line of clothing for men and women. Also in this year products introduced included the Monogram Vernis line, the LV scrapbooks, and the Louis Vuitton City Guide.

The last events in the 20th century were the release of the mini monogram line in 1999, the opening of the first store in Africa in Marrakech, Morocco in 2000, and finally the auction at the International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, where the vanity case "amfAR" designed by Sharon Stone was sold with the proceeds going to The Foundation for AIDS Research (also in 2000).

2001 to present day

By 2001, Stephen Sprouse, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, designed a limited-edition line of Vuitton bags that featured graffiti written over the monogram pattern. The graffiti read Louis Vuitton and, on certain bags, the name of the bag (such as Keepall and Speedy). Certain pieces, which featured the graffiti without the Monogram Canvas background, were only available on Louis Vuitton's V.I.P. customer list. Jacobs also created the charm bracelet, the first ever piece of jewelry from LV, within the same year.

In 2002, the Tambour watch collection was introduced. During this year, the LV building in Tokyo's Ginza district was opened, and the brand collaborated with Bob Wilson for its Christmas windows sceneography. In 2003, Takashi Murakami,[4] in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, masterminded the new Monogram Multicolore canvas range of handbags and accessories. This range included the monograms of the standard Monogram Canvas, but in 33 different colors on either a white or black background. (The classic canvas features gold monograms on a brown background.) Murakami also created the Cherry Blossom pattern, in which smiling cartoon faces in the middle of pink and yellow flowers were sporadically placed atop the Monogram Canvas. This pattern appeared on a limited number of pieces. The production of this limited-edition run was discontinued in June 2003. Within 2003, the stores in Moscow, Russia and in New Delhi, India were opened, the Utah and Suhali leather lines were released, and the 20th anniversary of the LV Cup was held.

In 2004, Louis Vuitton celebrated its 150th anniversary. The brand also inaugurated stores in New York City (on Fifth Avenue), São Paulo, Mexico City, Cancun and Johannesburg. It also opened its first global store in Shanghai. By 2005, Louis Vuitton reopened its Champs-Élysées store in Paris designed by the American Architect Eric Carlson (reputed to be the largest and most successful LV store in the world), and released the Speedy watch collection. In 2006, LV held the inauguration of the Espace Louis Vuitton on its 7th floor. In 2008, Louis Vuitton released the Damier Graphite canvas. The canvas features the classic Damier pattern but in black and grey, giving it a masculine look and urban feel.

In 2010, Louis Vuitton opened what it described as their most luxurious store in London.

On 17 September 2011, Louis Vuitton opened it's very first Island Maison (island mansion) in Singapore, the first 'maison' to be opened in South-east Asia, and Jordi Constans was announced as new CEO for the company, replacing Yves Carcelle. Constans is originally from Barcelona, Spain.

The Louis Vuitton brand and the famous LV monogram are among the world's most valuable brands. According to a Millward Brown 2010 study, Louis Vuitton is the world's 29th most valuable brand, right after Gillette and before Wells Fargo. The brand itself is estimated to be worth over USD $19 billion. For the sixth consecutive year, Louis Vuitton still at number one of ten most powerful brand published by the Millward Brown Optimor's 2011 BrandZ study with value of $24.3 billion. It was more than double value from the second rank.

Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world due to its image as a status symbol. Ironically, the signature Monogram Canvas was created to prevent counterfeiting. In 2004, Louis Vuitton fakes accounted for 18% of counterfeit accessories seized in the European Union.

The company takes counterfeiting seriously, and employs a team of lawyers and special investigation agencies, actively pursuing offenders through the courts worldwide, and allocating about half of its budget of communications to counteract counterfeiting of its goods. LVMH (Vuitton's parent company) further confirmed this by stating that "some 60 people at various levels of responsibility working full time on anti-counterfeiting in collaboration with a wide network of outside investigators and a team of lawyers." In a further effort, the company closely controls the distribution of its products. Until the 1980s, Vuitton products were widely sold in department stores (e.g. Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue). Today, Vuitton products are primarily available at authentic Louis Vuitton boutiques, with a small number of exceptions. These boutiques are commonly found in upscale shopping districts or inside luxury department stores. The boutiques within department stores operate independently from the department and have their own LV managers and employees. LV has recently launched an online store, through its main website, as an authorized channel to market its products.

Since the 19th century, manufacture of Louis Vuitton goods have not changed: Luggage is still made by hand. Contemporary Fashion gives a preview of the creation of the LV trunks: "the craftsmen line up the leather and canvas, tapping in the tiny nails one by one and securing the five-letter solid pick-proof brass locks with an individual handmade key, designed to allow the traveler to have only one key for all of his or her luggage. The wooden frames of each trunk are made of 30-year-old poplar that has been allowed to dry for at least four years. Each trunk has a serial number and can take up to 60 hours to make, and a suitcase as many as 15 hours."

Many of the company's products utilize the signature brown Damier and Monogram Canvas materials, both of which were first used in the late 19th century. All of the company's products exhibit the eponymous LV initials. The company markets its product through its own stores located throughout the world, which allows it to control product quality and pricing. It also allows LV to prevent counterfeit products entering its distribution channels. In addition, the company distributes its products through LouisVuitton.com.

Korean travel retailer Shilla Duty Free is on the verge of striking an agreement to open the world's first Louis Vuitton airport store at Seoul Incheon International airport towards the end of 2011.

Advertising campaigns
The Louis Vuitton company carefully cultivates a celebrity following and has used famous models, musicians, and actors such as Keith Richards, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Hayden Christensen and most recently Angelina Jolie in its marketing campaigns. Breaking from their usual traditions of employing supermodels and celebrities to advertise their products, on 2 August 2007, the company announced that the former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev would appear in an ad campaign along with Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, and Catherine Deneuve. Many rappers, most notably Kanye West and Juicy J have mentioned the company in certain songs.

The company commonly uses print ads in magazines and billboards in cosmopolitan cities. It previously relied on selected press for its advertising campaigns (frequently involving prestigious stars like Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, Gisele Bündchen and Catherine Deneuve) shot by Annie Leibovitz. However, Antoine Arnault, director of the communication department, has recently decided to enter the world of television and cinema: The commercial (90 seconds) is exploring the theme "Where will life take you?" and is translated into 13 different languages. This is the first Vuitton commercial ad ever and was directed by renowned French director Bruno Aveillan.

Controversy and disputes Britney Spears video
On 19 November 2007 Louis Vuitton, in further efforts to prevent counterfeiting, successfully sued Britney Spears for violating counterfeiting laws. A part of the music video for the song "Do Somethin'" shows fingers tapping on the dashboard of a hot pink Hummer with what looks like Louis Vuitton's "Cherry Blossom" design bearing the LV logo. Britney Spears herself was not found guilty, but a civil court in Paris has ordered Sony BMG and MTV Online to stop showing the video. They were also fined €80,000 to each group. An anonymous spokesperson for LVMH stated that the video constituted an "attack" on Louis Vuitton's brands and its luxury image.
'Simple Living'
"Simple Living" image and Vuitton's Audra bag, created by Takashi Murakami
On 13 February 2007 Louis Vuitton sent a Cease and desist order to Danish art student Nadia Plesner for using an image of a bag that allegedly infringed Louis Vuitton's intellectual property rights. Plesner had created a satirical illustration, "Simple Living", depicting a malnourished child holding a designer dog and a designer bag, and used it on T-shirts and posters to raise funds for the charity "Divest for Darfur". On 25 March the court ruled in favour of LV that the image was a clear infringement of copyright. Despite the ruling, Plesner continued to use the image, arguing artistic freedom, and posted copies of the Cease and desist order on her website. On 15 April 2008, Louis Vuitton notified Plesner of the lawsuit being brought against her. Louis Vuitton demanded $7,500 (5,000 Euro) for each day Plesner continues to sell the "Simple Living" products, $7,500 for each day the original Cease and desist letter is published on her website and $7,500 a day for using the name "Louis Vuitton" on her website, plus legal and enforcement costs.

An LVMH spokeswoman interviewed by New York Magazine said that Louis Vuitton were forced to take legal action when Plesner did not respond to their original request to remove the contested image, nor to the subsequent Cease and desist order. In October 2008, Louis Vuitton declared that the company had dropped its lawsuit but have since reopened it along with a new €205,000 claim due to a painting by the same artist. In May 2011, the court in The Hague found in favour of Plesner's right to freedom of expression.

Craftsmen advertisementsIn May 2010 the British Advertising Standards Authority banned two of the company's advertising spots, depicting craftsmen at work on its products, for being in breach of its 'Truthfulness clause'. The ASA said that the evidence supplied by Louis Vuitton fell short of what was needed to prove the products were made by hand. The ASA said that the two adverts would lead consumers to interpret that Louis Vuitton bags and wallets were almost entirely hand-crafted, when they were predominantly created by machine.

The ASA stated: 'We noted that we had not seen documentation that detailed the entire production process for Louis Vuitton products or that showed the proportion of their manufacture that was carried out by hand or by machine. Vuitton denied that their production was automated, arguing that over 100 stages were involved in the making of each bag; they however admitted that sewing machines had been used in production process.'

Sunday 29 January 2012

John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

An American expatriate who was trained in Paris prior to moving to London, Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, though not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his Portrait of Madame X was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the Grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air.