From Beirut to Shanghai and from Johannesburg to Oslo, Louis Vuitton stores worldwide will be lit up with elegant displays of traditional Hindu motifs in celebration of the Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights.
For Louis Vuitton – a brand that is deeply steeped in values of transmitting heritage and traditions – Diwali will be a wonderful occasion to share its values with its visitors in an atmosphere of joy and festivity. The festivities will run for two months in November and December 2010. It will also be a tribute to Louis Vuitton’s special relationship with India which dates to almost a century.
Diwali: Mythological Origins
A symbol of inter-communal peace and harmony that cuts across barriers of caste, class, religion and country, the festival of Diwali has been revered and celebrated in India from times immemorial.
Numerous myths exist about how the festival originated. The most commonly accepted origin of Diwali dates back to the 3rd century B.C. to the Ramayana epic. Rama, a Hindu god, was a dutiful son and to respect his Father’s wishes, he willingly surrendered his right to the throne to a younger brother and went into exile with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. During this period in the forest, Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, the demon King of Lanka whom Rama defeated in battle. After fourteen long years in exile, Rama returned home to his kingdom Ayodhya.
To welcome him, their rightful king, and to express their boundless joy the people of Ayodhya wore new clothes, lit oil lamps illuminating every house and street, set off fire-crackers and distributed sweets. The origin of Diwali lies in this celebration of the victory of good over evil that cherishes family values of love, respect and harmony. In today’s world, where values of peace and harmony seem to lose importance, Louis Vuitton wishes to make a gesture by uniting all its stores around this Indian festival, which symbolises light, joy, optimism and new beginnings.
Louis Vuitton & Diwali: Window Displays
Louis Vuitton & Diwali Window Display at Louis Vuitton Champs-Elysées
For this occasion, Louis Vuitton store windows worldwide will celebrate Diwali with a set-up specially conceived in India in collaboration with Indian artist Rajeev Sethi, reputed for bringing contemporary relevance to the work of traditional artists and craftsmen. The windows showcase columns of trunks, specially crafted and hand-painted in India on Banana fibre paper, glow from the inside giving passers-by the feeling of gaiety and festivity. Merchandising and packaging will also be inspired by light and joy, thus allowing visitors worldwide to celebrate together the spirit of Diwali, also commonly known as the Festival of Lights.
Louis Vuitton & Diwali Window Display at Louis Vuitton New Bond Street Maison, London
Louis Vuitton Stores by Florine Asch
Louis Vuitton & Diwali: Celebrating Craftsmanship
Diwali will also be a time for Louis Vuitton to pay tribute to Indian heritage. Fascinated by Indian craftsmanship and the splendour of the fabrics and their colours, not to mention the quality of the materials, Louis Vuitton will re-edit forty pieces from the Spring/Summer 2010 and Fall/Winter 2010 collection using the fabric from authentic “vintage” saris sourced in the cities of New Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Madras, and other cities in India. These delicate pieces, imaginated as silhouettes divided into two styles of skirts and shorts, three dress styles and four other different tops, have been designed with the greatest attention and care.
Exclusively made in the Louis Vuitton ready-to-wear workshop in Paris, they are available in several fabrics, whose warm colours are set off by the contrast of gold thread embroidery. These limited edition ready-to-wear pieces will be sold exclusively (in size 38) in the Louis Vuitton Paris Montaigne store.
Furthermore, a new “Louis Vuitton fabric”, designed by the Louis Vuitton studio with a mix of Monogram flowers and Indian traditional motifs, has been specially woven for this occasion by Indian craftsmen. These fabrics, which come in two colours in cotton and in silk, will be transformed by Louis Vuitton into three existing Louis Vuitton ready-to-wear pieces and a scarf. Sometimes in pink and sea green-coloured silk, sometimes in radiant ivory cotton, these creations celebrate the femininity and elegance of a thoroughly modern woman. Symbol of a delicate marriage of Indian heritage, know-how and Louis Vuitton creativity, these pieces will be available for purchase worldwide in a network of Louis Vuitton stores.
Constructing the Louis Vuitton & Diwali Ready-to-Wear pieces.
Images via Louis Vuitton / Stéphane Muratet, Horst Diekgerdes, Patrick Galabert. Illustrations by Florine Asch