Written by Ludovica Colacino,
with accompanying photographs by Dominika Wojciechowska.
180, Strand – this is where the doors of the “Series 3” exhibition opened to the Autumn – Winter 2015 collection of Louis Vuitton. However, as soon as we turn around the corner, it’s clear that the exhibition doesn’t just show the finished product; the visitors witness the whole creation process, starting from the birth of the ideas of the fashion designer and creative director of the brand, Nicolas Ghesquière.
The exhibition begins by walking through a white, aseptic, tunnel; at the end of it we access a round room with a black, low, mirror ceiling. At the core of the room there’s an open Louis Vuitton trunk – it is the container of over a century of ideas and secrets. The claustrophobic effect of the low ceiling is neutralized by the streaming of the images from the screens lining the round walls. Models, patterns, shoes, bags and intertwining geometrical shapes enlighten the room: that’s the genesis of the idea. From Ghesquierè’s mind, the idea is shared with the craftsmen: immediately after the first room, there’s a long, dark hallway enlightened by bright neon lights. Their fast, but fluid, streaming along the hallway gives us the illusion of speed while the black mirror walls and ceiling, trick us into thinking that we’ve just accessed a virtual, multidimensional area far from reality. In this hallway we experience the fast paced work of the artisans, as we understand their movements from screens positioned flats onto the few tables along it.
The Infinite Show awaits us afterwards: the models of the A/W 2015 collection are walking endlessly in the videos streamed in the full-length standing screens, randomly positioned into the room. After the runway, we walk again into the realization and construction of the single product; this time, there are two of Louis Vuitton artisans to show us how to compose the famous clutch La Petite Mall. The pieces are at first outlined with the laser, and then they undergo a process of roughly 13/14 hours of handmade assemblage.
The bright and vibrant chaos of the creating process has left its place to a completely white room: the walls, the mannequins, everything is white apart the accessories, finally finished: all the attention in focused on the accessory, suddenly silencing the chaotic surroundings. From the gallery we walk into a Walk-in Closet made of glass; it is filled up with Louis Vuitton clothes waiting to be worn. The multidimensional experience of this exhibition eventually allows the visitors to daydream about being the owner of those accessories and garments, inviting them to touch them and to become a part of Ghesquière’s streaming of consciousness – and therefore, of Louis Vuitton.
Bruce Weber‘s and Jüergen Taller’s pictures of Ghesquière’s women (actresses, iconic models, “new faces”) of Louis Vuitton accompany us towards the exit of the exhibition, leaving us with a hint of what the future of Louis Vuitton might be.