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The exhibit coincides with the opening of Milan Fashion Week as well as the luxury brand’s new store in Via Montenapoleone 2, after seven months of restoration. Inspired by Peter Marino’s blueprint, the store boasts the first Salon de Haute Maroquinerie in the world and the first Travel Room in Europe.
The exhibition is a celebration of artistic director Marc Jacobs’ creativity for Louis Vuitton through the display of 30 key looks, said Pietro Beccari, the company’s executive vice president, who added the designer’s “real strength is his understanding of the brand and its history; he respects its traditions while bringing a breath of fresh air and a touch of fantasy, modernity and creativity.”
Grand, who has worked closely with Jacobs since 2003 on the styling of the brand’s fashion shows, underscored that the exhibit “is not a retrospective, we put clothes together as I would for a shoot.” As a result, she didn’t select one outfit per collection, but mixed looks designed by Jacobs since 1998. “And it all still looks very contemporary,” she said.
Grand noted that the only brief she received from Louis Vuitton was to “show all the craftsmanship.”
“I know how much care goes in each garment, I am respectful of the atelier, and looking at photos is different from looking at the actual clothes,” she said.
The designs, worn on mannequins with Speedy bags instead of heads, also highlights Jacobs’ collaboration with artists including Richard Prince, Julie Verhoeven, Stephen Sprouse and Takashi Murakami. “We humorously push the point that Vuitton is about bags. It hit me we couldn’t do a blank head, it would have been too pedestrian,” said Grand, who scoffed at the notion that the exhibition was in any way linked to the rumors surrounding Jacobs’ departure from Louis Vuitton for Dior. “It’s silly, we started working on this in January 2011,” she said.
A selection of the looks on display was first unveiled in May 2010 at the opening of the brand’s New Bond Street Maison in London.
Among the pieces in Milan are a cashmere mesh jumper from fall-winter 2000 combined with a tulle skirt from fall-winter 2004 or the coiffeuse dress in silk satin, and the Speedy Multicolor created in collaboration with Murakami from the spring-summer 2003 season. There are also six mannequins made of wood and covered with Louis Vuitton graffiti designed by Sprouse in orange and pink fluorescent colors.
The exhibition runs from Thursday to Oct. 9.
Photos by David Maestri.
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