Louis Vuitton presents the SEE LV experience about the over 160 years of the Maison’s history at the Dubai Mall Fountain – as the third stop of the travelling exhibition.
‘Icon’ is one of the most overused and misused terms in marketing, in my opinion. So many brands are claiming the ‘iconic status’ of their product basically after barely a few years or even just months of existence and no reason behind that many conscious customers have started to ignore these claims. High sales numbers or big popularity in themselves don’t make an icon – it is more like something which is not only widely admired but also has great influence or significance in a particular sphere and also great impact for others and for the future. The wider this sphere is or the bigger the cultural (or any other) influence is, the closer the icon existence is.
However Louis Vuitton is undoubtedly an iconic brand name – founded in 1854, its logo became one of the most recognisable and one of most counterfeited symbols in the world and one of the world’s leading international fashion houses (as part of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Group). It is among the top valuable luxury brands with products like leather goods, handbags, trunks, shoes, watches, jewellery and accessories.
‘LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury goods group, recorded a revenue of EUR 64.2 billion in 2021, up 44% compared to 2020 and up 20% compared to 2019. (…) Exceptional performance by the Fashion & Leather Goods business group, in particular Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Celine and Loewe, which achieved record levels of revenue and profitability. Louis Vuitton in 2021 highlights include: a tribute fashion show in Miami, in memory of Virgil Abloh (Louis Vuitton men’s artistic director), several creative initiatives linked to bicentenary of birth of brand’s founder, iconic models reinvented and new artistic collaborations, store openings, notably in Tokyo and at La Samaritaine in Paris.’ Source: LVMH press release
Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH sees Louis Vuitton as a cultural phenomenon with strong influence on other fields, like contemporary art for example – ‘Louis Vuitton is a company that is involved in many aspects of cultural life. That is the spirit of Louis Vuitton. It’s not just a fashion brand. It’s a cultural brand with a global audience.’
Luxury and art have never been more closely linked like today – almost all of the world’s major luxury houses have associated themselves with contemporary art through dedicated projects, sponsorships or art commissions. The goal is to cultivate the relationship between fashion, art, and other design disciplines and of course target new audiences and offer something different for the different generations.
Louis Vuitton has a dedicated foundation for contemporary arts, the Fondation Louis Vuitton. The landmark building designed by Frank Gehry hosts its home. Ever since the first inaugural exhibition in 2014, FLV has regularly showcased selections of modern and contemporary art. The foundation aims to be the messenger of contemporary artistic creativity for a wide French and international audience (please see more about it here).
It is not an easy task to cover such a rich history of 168 years with emblematic products, famous collaborations or global advertising campaigns in an easily digestible exhibition. SEE LV intents to show facets of Louis Vuitton’s creations through a contemporary lens – the exhibition brings together modern collections and 1900’s trunks, artistic collaborations and iconic leather creations.
Dubai is the third stop of the travelling exhibition after Wuhan (autumn of 2020) and Hangzhou (spring of 2021). The venue is a great ‘frame’ to the event – it is a special red-white space suspended on the blue water next to the Dubai Fountain, with the Burj Khalifa in the background and it is open to the public.
The SEE LV exhibition has four universes: Finding Louis, In Fashion, Bags stories and Evolution gallery.
With the help of a dedicated guide the visitors can learn more about Louis Vuitton (4 August 1821 – 27 February 1892) the founding father of the House, about the famous logo or important collaborations with an elite group of artists, architects, designers, and photographers – such as Zaha Hadid, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, Takashi Murakami, Stephen Sprouse and many more.
One of the rooms features a reverse-chronology selection of ready-to-wear pieces, where an exquisite gown by Charles Frederick Worth (dating back to 1893) stands alongside a historical 1906 trunk, illustrating the Maison’s longstanding relationship with fashion and travel.
Georges Vuitton (13 July 1857 – 26 October 1936) – the only child of the founder – was a great marketer. He wanted to distinguish his house’s goods from the many other luxury travel companies. So he decided to launch new designs, patented their single lock system with two spring buckles and came up with the famous ‘canvas monogram’ (the overlapping L and V, completed with a stylised four-petal flower in a solid circle, a four pointed petal flower and the same in a rhombus).
The ‘Bags Stories’ universe showcases emblematic pieces of LV: the soft, rectangular shaped Speedy, the Alma with a rounded top part or the elegant Capucines and images of the friends of the brand.
Top models like Gisele Bündchen, actresses like Alicia Vikander, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and Emma Stone or the late David Bowie display how these signature products have continued to inspire throughout the times.
Next, an entire room is dedicated to Louis Vuitton’s major contributions to the invention of luggage typologies, ranging from the iconic Wardrobe trunk to the Skateboard trunk, showing how each one has been a cornerstone in the evolution of new lifestyles and travelling habits.
If you are in town you still have the chance to see the exhibition until 7 March 2022.