Maîtres du Savoir-Faire: Gustavo Santaolalla

Gustavo Santaolalla Roncoco Case
The Academy Award winning Musician’s case

Dimensions for close trunk (cm): L 82* W 29* H 16
Dimensions for open trunk (cm): L 82* W 35* H 45

Exterior: Black cowhide leather
Interior: Blue cow grained leather and blue velvet

Argentine-born Gustavo Santaolalla is the musician, composer and producer who – with no formal musical training – is credited with bringing the traditional sounds of South America to a worldwide audience with his solo albums, notably Ronroco (1996), and film scores. In 2006 and 2007, he won Academy Awards for his original soundtracks for the movies Brokeback Mountain and Babel respectively. Gustavo Santaolalla also composed the theme, featuring the haunting notes of the ronroco guitar, for Louis Vuitton’s first ever advertising film, released in 2008.

When Gustavo Santaolalla visited Louis Vuitton’s Asnières workshop with his beloved ronroco, he requested a case that would be discreet, light to carry, and dark in colour. Patrick-Louis Vuitton guided him towards black Nomade leather, which is naturally tanned to preserve its inherent beauty and patina. In a clear demonstration of Louis Vuitton’s savoir-faire, the fully stitched, hard-sided case was designed to the exact dimensions of the instrument. Secured with a palladium-finish S-lock, it is lined with rich blue velvet and leather, creating an effect that – though understated – is supremely elegant.


Louis Vuitton’s celebration of the Excellence du Savoir-faire calls for the collaboration of artists who posses a unique “know-how”. What was your initial reaction to receiving such an invitation?

Gustavo Santaolalla: When I was approached by Louis Vuitton for the Excellence du Savoir-faire project, I felt honoured and flattered by the invitation. The fact that I was considered alongside artists I deeply admire and that I was chosen for having a unique “know how” made me feel special and it was in itself a beautiful reward for my work.

When creating a special order with Louis Vuitton, the item created is to be unique and personal. What makes this special order Gustavo Santaolalla’s?

Gustavo Santaolalla: This special order is unique and very personal for me, because the beautiful case that was created by the expert hands of Louis Vuitton’s craftsmen, under the direction of Patrick-Louis Vuitton contains one of my most precious instruments, the Ronroco. This lower pitched version of the more commonly known Charango is also an instrument that originates from South America. It’s been with me since I was a kid and through the years it has played a vital role in the music that I have composed for films.

A perfect occasion to celebrate the 150th anniversaries of the Red Cross and Louis Vuitton’s first workshop in Asnières, an auction will be organized where all proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross; is there anything you’d like to say to the potential buyer of your special order?

Gustavo Santaolalla: The “Excellence du Savoir- Faire” is a wonderful project that Louis Vuitton has put together, celebrating the fact that the 150th anniversary of their first workshop opening in Asnières also coincides with the founding of the Red Cross. This humanitarian society has assisted people worldwide regardless of their political beliefs, race or religion since its inception. I think that my special order presents the potential buyer with a wonderful opportunity to own something that is truly one of a kind; combining the uniqueness of this case with the beauty of the instrument it contains: the Ronroco. This very instrument has been part of my emotional fabric, and has been used in the score of some of the most preeminent films of the past decade.

 And knowing that the proceeds will benefit the Red Cross, there will be with no price limit on bidding.

Images via Louis Vuitton