Louis Vuitton introduces the first step of “The Journey of a Man’s Wardrobe” Fall-Wintern 2010/2011. Following its creation and the show in Paris, each collection is making its own journey to land in the lives of different styles of men.
With the participation of photographer The Selby, Louis Vuitton trackedthis season clothes, shoes, accessories and leathergoods into creative and inspiring men’s interiors all around the world. Artists, entrepreneurs, architects or designers all have in common a very personal lifestyle that mixes elegance and casual as if their occupation and their private life are one.
Today, Louis Vuitton invites you to Paris to discover the birth of a collection in the Design Studio and the leathergoods workshop, the show at Centquatre, along with an unexpected stop in the Asnières Family House.
For the behind-the-scenes look at the Louis Vuitton workshop, check it out after the jump. As for the other features, visit The Journey of a Wardrobe.
The Asnières workshop is unquestionably the nerve centre of Louis Vuitton. For more than a century, from 1859 until 1977, it was the company’s sole production facility, before growing demand from new markets and for new products meant that additional workshops had to be brought on stream. Asnières remains, however, very much the living symbol of Louis Vuitton’s unique combination of tradition and innovation. It is at Asnières that all the company’s hard-frame luggage continues to be made, as well as special orders, exotic leather bags and limited-edition bags for the fashion shows.
The Asnières workshop was itself a response to burgeoning demand when, just four years after the company was founded, the spectacular success of the Vuitton flat trunk forced Louis Vuitton to look beyond his original workshop in central Paris. With considerable foresight, he decided to move production out of the city to Asnières. The quiet rural town was yet to be made famous by the Impressionists, but was strategically situated both on the banks of the Seine – the poplar wood for the trunks arrived by barge from the nearby Oise valley – and on the railway line to Paris Saint- Lazare. Reflecting Louis Vuitton’s keen personal interest in all aspects of technological progress, the architecture of the new workshop was inspired by the groundbreaking use of glass and metal then being pioneered by Victor Baltard and Gustave Eiffel. It maximized the supply of natural light to provide the best possible conditions for precision craftsmanship.
The Asnières workshop reopened in January 2005 after extensive renovation lasting a year. Architect Gilles Carnoy sympathetically extended the historic exterior and thoroughly modernized the interior, seamlessly integrating state-of-the-art lighting, electricity, air-conditioning and compressed air systems for sewing machines, and designing a new layout for workstations geared to comfort and flexibility. The renovation added an extra level and 1,000-sq-m of space to the workshop, enabling poplar, beech and okoume wood for hard luggage, as well as canvas and leather to be stored on site, the latter in specially controlled conditions of temperature and humidity. All materials are meticulously checked on arrival and again before use.
Though their working environment has evolved beyond recognition, most of the tools and techniques used by the 185 craftsmen at Asnières remain virtually unchanged since the beginning. Another aspect of continuity is the time-honoured practice by which the workshop’s master craftsmen train their apprentices in the skills they need, ensuring that Asnières’ proud tradition of creativity and craftsmanship is constantly renewed.
Images via Louis Vuitton