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What happened at London this weekend? Louis Vuitton UK, gave a modern and unexpected reinterpretation of a fashion show, where #LVSeries3 invited visitors to discover Nicolas Ghesquière’s inspirations for his third ready-to-wear show as the brand’s Artistic Director for women’s collections. In simple terms, this was a showcase of Ghesquière’s creative process and influences – and the means by which he arrived at a completed collection. But, this was far from your usual “mood board”. Louis Vuitton UK invited you to stepping into “The Matrix” or “TRON”, for an insight into the inner working of a brilliant and incredibly intense creative mind, and the way in which his vision is translated into reality from the making through to advertising campaigns.
The exhibition took place within the shell of Frederick Gibberd’s Brutalist 180 Strand building in London, conceived in collaboration with set designer Es Devlin. Ghesquière first approached Devlin in 2014 to design the show for his third collection, which was held at Frank Gehry’s yet-to-be-unveiled Fondation Louis Vuitton building.
Working closely with Ghesquière from the start of each collection, she has designed each show since, and translated those sets and the stories behind the collections into the touring Series exhibitions. Beginning with a reimagining of the geodesic dome show space, the exhibition immediately lead into the mind of Ghesquière, and – as you might imagine – it’s a fairly overwhelming experience.
Here, the room spins while models, luxury bags, images and interviews emanate from a large central trunk onto the curved walls. In the next room the visitors are invited to experience a direct view of an artisan’s desk while time and space whizz past you. Another room replicates the interior of the catwalk, where the life-size models shown on digital screens kept marching towards us over and over again. The laser rooms showcased how leather is laser-cut for the accessories, while in the room that followed we watched two craftsmen from Paris assemble LV’s luxury articles in front of our eyes. There was an all white accessory room, a glass walk in robe that made me consider selling a limb in exchange for just one tiny corner of it, culminating in a large industrial lounge overlooking the Thames and boasting a wall of Vuitton stickers the crowds when nuts for (because they were free – and we all know things are always way better when they are free, no?)
So what we can learn from all this? Louis Vuitton UK and its #LVSeries3 forms part of a wider trend of luxury houses showcasing their fashion brands in exhibitions (remember Chanel’s Little Black Jacket, for example?) By staging a show in an independent space outside of their store, Louis Vuitton have once again positioned themselves at the intersection of art of design, giving their the brand the powerful ability to inspire, rather than just sell. In doing so, they also engaged with people who might not otherwise ever step foot in a Louis Vuitton store. And that, my friends, is the nugget I hope we can all take away from this – major cleverness on multiple levels.
Now, after this kind of fashion show promoted by Louis Vuitton UK, whats on in London this weekend?