BEIJING — Louis Vuitton brought more than 150 years of luxurytravel into the heart of the Chinese capital on Monday, rolling out anextensive trunk-based exhibition at the newly reopened National Museumof China in Tiananmen Square.
“Louis Vuitton Voyages” is themuseum’s third international exhibit, following the openings of a majorGerman show on the Age of Enlightenment and a Peruvian historicalretrospective in the renovated showpiece museum in April.
Topexecutives from the French luxury brand were on hand to unveil the trunkexhibition, a major component of which is a new video installation byChinese contemporary artist Zhan Wang.
“We need to keep aninternal curiosity and appreciate the voyage,” Zhan said of theinspiration for his work, which uses high-speed-capture video tovisualize the origin of the universe through a series of explosions andhurtling rocks.
Elsewhere, glass display cases that appearhoisted by monogrammed hot-air balloons show off iconic Vuitton trunksand travel cases, dating back to 1854. They include everything from19th-century icons to a deluxe iPad travel case.
Chen Lusheng,deputy director of the National Museum of China, noted that the Vuittonexhibition is the museum’s first brand display and “helps us realize ourmission…paying equal attention to history and art.”
The museum,which has rebuffed all interview requests from international mediaabout its reopening after more than three years of renovation and asomewhat dubious past, has maintained an air of mystery about its plans.
Now the world’s largest museum, it boasts state-of-the-artfacilities, but it’s unclear what those will host.
From hiscomments on Monday, Chen hinted that brand-focused shows are likely tobe facet of the museum’s future. Neither he nor Vuitton companyexecutives would give the cost of the exhibition. The German governmentreportedly paid several million dollars, including travel costs andinsurance fees, to stage the Age of Enlightenment display here.
Vuittonchairman and chief executive officer Yves Carcelle said the exhibitionis meant to evoke nostalgia and inspire creativity, harkening back to19th-century travel and Vuitton’s first modern trunks.
“We allhave this old dream and I think the exhibition will allow you to travelthrough time,” he said.
Pietro Beccari, Vuitton’s executivevice president, said Vuitton decided to bring “Voyages” to China not somuch to promote growth in the consumer market, but deepen understandingof the brand among an increasingly sophisticated Chinese clientele.
Chinesecelebrities including actresses Gong Li and Yuan Quan were on hand foran opening ceremony and cocktail reception Monday evening.
“Voyages”will show at the National Museum of China through Aug. 30. Vuittonhinted bringing something even bigger to China next year when thecompany will commemorate its 20th anniversary in China. Becarri saidplans for a grand celebration are under way.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast