Article contributed by Isaiah Thomas Artest for ILVOELV
Last week, I was in Paris and I had the chance to visit the Voyage en Capitale – Louis Vuitton & Paris Exhibit at the Musée Carnavalet. The exhibit showcased several pieces that included trunks, paintings and photographs placed on display within one location. This was one of the best exhibits I’ve ever seen and in the process, I learned a lot more than Louis Vuitton and its origins. The exhibits starts off with the entry into the room projection on the wall of the biography of founder Louis Vuitton. When you walk into the room, directly in front of you are three large pictures on the wall of Louis Vuitton, his son Georges Vuitton and grandson, Gaston-Louis Vuitton with biographical information on the various men and various artwork on the walls. There were a few trunks in the first room but it gets better as you enter the second room.
Within the exhibit, there were dozens of trunks that caught my eye. I was amazed by the beauty of the various trunks as many of the trunk originated in the late 1800’s. One of the first items that caught my eye was a Louis Vuitton Steamer Bag from the early 1900’s. The year of the bag placed it just above 100 years old but it was in relatively good condition for its age. I thought about asking if I could take the Steamer Bag out for a day excursion around Paris, but I’m sure my proposal would have been rejected.
There were several trunks, tea cases, toiletry kits produced in various exotic leathers for your liking and other trunks produced for the purpose of its owners. The one trunk any lady would love to have was a made for the sole purpose of a transporting the owner’s shoes. It had over 30 shoe drawers and each one contained a label with a brief description of the shoes inside.
During my viewing of the exhibit, there were two pieces I absolutely fell in love with. The first piece was a trunk made from Elephant Leather. Yes, you read correctly, Elephant Leather. I wasn’t expecting to see such an exotic piece and thought I was reading the label wrong. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the Elephant leather wardrobe was about the person who ordered and owned the piece. I can imagine the eclectic pieces they must have acquired over a lifetime including this piece. A product made from elephant leather would be hard to produce today without controversy and this adds to the beauty of the trunk.
The second piece that caught my attention was a trunk that contained a beach/lounge chair on the inside. The person, who owned this piece must have spent a lot of time on the beach, couldn’t find a comfortable chair or they were just very picky. I got the impression from the exhibit that if a customer needed an item to be transported and wanted to do it in style, Louis Vuitton was there to meet the specific needs of the customer.
I left the exhibition with a newfound respect for Louis Vuitton in addition to some recently acquired knowledge. Although I purchased my first LV piece in 2006, it wasn’t until the end of 2008 that I regained an interested in the brand. Many people think of Louis Vuitton as just handbags and nothing more. The Voyage en Capitale – Louis Vuitton & Paris Exhibition brings Louis Vuitton’s origins into perspective for those who may not have a complete understanding of the essence of Louis Vuitton. For those who know everything that needs to be known about Louis Vuitton, this is a great exhibit to visit and see some beautiful pieces in one museum.
by Isaiah Thomas Artest
Image via Isaiah Thomas Artest. Image via Louis Vuitton