refurbished Louis Vuitton on Rodeo Drive, January
29, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif. The exterior of
the newly renovated Louis Vuitton flagship at 295
N. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, designed by Peter
Marino, evokes the aesthetic of the brand's new
creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere with a
futuristic three-layer facade
ANGELES — Straight from the fashion capital of the
world to the entertainment capital of the world, Louis
Vuitton has brought its spring 2015 runway show from
Paris to L.A. as a pop culture experience for all.
is no product for sale at the gallery-like space on
North Highland Avenue, just a free, immersive exhibition
intended to give visitors a glimpse into the
time-traveling vision of designer and self-described
sci-fi enthusiast Nicolas Ghesquiere, who became
artistic director of Vuitton’s women’s collections
in November 2013.
exhibition, titled "Series 2," features seven
rooms with displays that shed light on the process
behind Ghesquiere’s luxe-meets-lava-lamp women’s
spring ready-to-wear collection, which originally
premiered on the runway inside the silvery new Frank
Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton museum during
Paris Fashion Week in October 2014.
enter next to an outsized red neon sign of an LV inside
a circle, modeled after the monogram seal initially used
by trunk maker and house founder Louis Vuitton in 1854
and revived as a logo by Ghesquiere. In the next room, a
trippy, mirrored dark space pierced by beams of
otherworldly light replicates the atmosphere inside the
show space. A chorus of talking faces welcomes you to
"the ship that serves as an incubator ... and the
house that wants to explore the ability to travel to any
part of the universe without moving," dialogue
inspired by the beginning sequence of David Lynch’s
1984 sci-fi film, "Dune."
shows are amazing, but they are for a small amount of
people," Ghesquiere, 43, said during an interview,
just hours before the exhibition’s star-studded
opening party on Feb. 6, attended by Catherine Deneuve,
Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Williams, Rosamund Pike,
Charlotte Gainsbourg and other celebrity friends of the
house. "I wanted to create something interactive
and technological that also speaks to Vuitton."
two-week exhibition comes amid several other luxury
players announcing plans to stage major events in the
celebrity hub of Los Angeles. On Feb. 20, Tom Ford is to
host his fall 2015 runway show here two days before the
Oscars. And on May 9, Dior plans to bring its Cruise
2015 runway show to town.
seems to be aiming to bring the blockbuster
entertainment value of a runway show to brand
enthusiasts and would-be customers in a way that’s
more intimate than watching it live on a computer
screen. And in a time when some luxury brands spend as
much money staging a 12-minute fashion show as some
Hollywood studios do producing a film, it makes sense to
try to capitalize on the experience by bringing it to
life closer to home.
you could pry open the mind of a house and peek inside,
that’s what this is," said Michael Burke, chief
executive of Louis Vuitton.
the exhibition, there are hologram projections of the
iconic trunk, the building block of Vuitton’s global
business. Heritage pieces — including Greta Garbo’s
LV-monogrammed shoe trunk, circa 1926, with a leather
tag inside indicating where it was purchased (Bullocks
Los Angeles) — are juxtaposed with Ghesquiere’s
modern designs, including retail hit the Petite-Malle, a
hinged box clutch shaped like a tiny trunk.
fun house hall of mirrors features all 48 looks from the
runway coming at you from every angle on a continuous
loop. And a replica of the show’s backstage space,
rolling racks, clothes steamer and all, is surrounded by
a panoramic fresco of the pre-show frenzy, shot by
photographer Jean-Paul Goude.
of the runway samples are here, including the white
vinyl crochet mini-dress that opened the show, a cherry
red eel skin dress, vivid floral velvet blouses and
pants out of the "Partridge Family" era, and
denim patchwork go-go boots, all of which helped to
cement the ’70s as the season’s biggest runway
Vuitton wardrobe is functional. I want to make fashion
statements, but not like before," said Ghesquiere.
"I’m interested in building consistency."
exhibition visitors looking to take home a piece of
Vuitton, there is a souvenir room, with free stickers
depicting household items (hair dryers, lipsticks,
headphones, takeout food) after a print in the spring
idea came from the luggage labels that were often
affixed to Vuitton’s trunks in the golden age of
transport. "I wanted to project that idea into
today, and while I was on a trip to Japan, I noticed
that kids there were putting stickers on
everything," the designer said. "It seemed
really right to make these stickers.... Vuitton is pop,
exhibition is a reflection of Vuitton’s global and
cultural reach, and how much has changed for Ghesquiere
since his former job, 15 years designing the more niche
luxury brand Balenciaga.
experienced beautiful things with Balenciaga. It was a
heritage of couture ... and the scale was different
sometimes by choice, and sometimes by non-choice,"
he said. "But I always knew I wanted to talk to
through-line of heritage fused with futurism underscores
how Ghesquiere’s vision for Vuitton differs from that
of his predecessor, Marc Jacobs, who was the creative
director at the brand for 16 years, during which time he
presented highly theatrical but highly changeable
collections. Where Jacobs introduced ready-to-wear at
Vuitton, previously known only for leather goods, and
put the house on the fashion map, Ghesquiere is taking
it to where it needs to go.
touch has already boosted sales at Vuitton and helped
parent company LVMH post stronger-than-expected
found my place," said Ghesquiere. "There is a
lot of pressure, but I’m very calm."