Russian retail center GUM said on Wednesday it had “informed the Russian representatives of Louis Vuitton of the need to immediately remove the pavilion,” which was supposed to house an exhibition about the French luxury house from Dec. 2 to Jan. 19.
The show was to have been the latest among several glitzy events this year to mark GUM’s 120th anniversary.
“However, in the opinion of some members of the public, the size of the exhibition pavilion turned out to exceed acceptable limits. Out of respect for public opinion, the exhibition structure began to be dismantled on Nov. 27, 2013,” GUM said in the second of two statements issued Wednesday.
The exhibition’s star-studded launch party, originally scheduled for Friday, has been canceled.
“In light of the present situation, GUM has made the decision that it is inappropriate to carry out the planned celebrations for a small group of invited guests, and will change the format of the event into an open public holiday set among the New Year’s decorations of GUM’s departments, a New Year’s gift market of handmade Russian crafts and the beloved traditional ice rink on Red Square,” it said.
On Wednesday evening, “dismantling in process” signs were plastered around the chain link fence surrounding the venue, as a crane hovered nearby. Workers had started taking apart the base.
“I’m sure it’s good for the brand, but to the average person, it feels like nothing’s sacred anymore,” said Sylvie Ilyasova, a young woman who, like many passersby, was taking photos of the suitcase with her smart phone. “Even Red Square is for sale.”
A spokeswoman for Louis Vuitton said the brand had received no official order to move from Red Square, adding that it had obtained all the necessary authorizations in advance.
The trunk’s fate was sealed Wednesday morning when a presidential administration official told journalists that the Kremlin had not approved it. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state news agency RIA Novosti that the Kremlin had not explicitly ordered its removal, but said it was “a problem of scale.”
The venue, which measures 102 feet long and 30 feet high, was set up to house “The Soul of Travel,” an exhibition of 30 iconic Louis Vuitton suitcases associated with Greta Garbo, Catherine Deneuve and other luminaries.
The giant structure was inscribed with the initials “P.W.O.” in honor of Russian Prince Vladimir Orloff, whose 19th-century trunk inspired the design. Louis Vuitton called the exhibition “a way to thank Russia for accompanying us for more than a century and a half,” but many Russians were unimpressed.
Communist lawmaker Sergei Obukhov complained that the venue “defiled a sacred place for the Russian government.” It inspired widespread mockery on Russian media, with one popular meme featuring a Godzilla-like creature crying out “Where’s my suitcase?” as it lumbered near Red Square.
Proceeds from the Vuitton exhibit had been destined for the Naked Heart Foundation, a children’s charity created by Natalia Vodianova. The Russian model is expecting a child with Antoine Arnault, the son of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault.
GUM said it would instead donate all proceeds from ticket sales on the Red Square ice rink in December to the Naked Heart Foundation.
A spokesman for the All-Russia Exhibition Center quashed press reports that it had offered to house the dislocated exhibition venue. “The pavilion will not be located there,” spokesman Sergei Yegorov said.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews