HONG KONG — A year ago Louis Vuitton celebrated its second Maison opening here with a celebrity–studded event that featured a live performance by Kanye West. On Thursday, the French luxury brand took a different approach to partying in Hong Kong with an art opening on a grand scale.
Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, welcomed some 700 guests to the Hong Kong Museum of Art, where the company has installed an exhibition of contemporary pieces called “Louis Vuitton: A Passion for Creation.” The show features works by artists with whom the brand has collaborated, as well as sketches and models of its new museum in Paris, and works by artists from Hong Kong and China.
“This exhibit is an example of the strong ties that Louis Vuitton has nurtured in Hong Kong,” said Arnault, noting the company opened its first store in the territory exactly 30 years ago.
Guests at the event included Frank Gehry, architect of the company’s under-construction museum, and his wife, Berta; local artist Adrian Wong; Raphaël le Masne de Chermont, executive chairman of Shanghai Tang; actor Russell Wong; the city’s Olympics organizer Timothy Fok; French Consul General Jean-Pierre Thébault; Antoine Arnault; Takashi Murakami, and Richard Prince, whose enlarged “After Dark” prints were used to “wrap” the entire museum. Gehry hit upon the theme of the night when he discussed the relationship between art and commerce: “Andy Warhol opened the door to a lot of what’s happening, and Murakami took it to the moon,” he said.
Vuitton’s creative director Marc Jacobs, wearing a red kilt, posed for countless photos with fans. “I’m trying to escape,” he said. “I don’t deal well with jet lag.”
Artist duo Gilbert & George, whose 1986 work “Class War, Militant, Gateway” has a prominent spot in the show, were on their first-ever trip to Hong Kong. “We’ve fallen in love with this city; we adore it. People are very appreciative here,” said George Passmore.
Indeed, from tycoon Stanley Ho and real estate magnate Allan Zeman to fashion designer Flora Cheung Leen and Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary Henry Tang, it seemed all of the city came out to appreciate the art on display and to have Polaroid photos of themselves snapped by models in the neon-graffiti-decorated Stephen Sprouse room.
The exhibition, which is part of the city’s annual Le French May arts festival, runs until Aug. 9.
“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