Over the past month, the SEE LV Exhibition held court at The Rocks on the shores of Sydney Harbour. The exclusive event showcased twentieth-century trunks, luxury leather goods, artistic collaborations, apparel and more from the French firm’s impressive archives.
A series of dazzling rooms transported viewers to Paris, where craftsman Louis Vuitton cut his teeth as the personal trunk maker and packer for the Empress of the French, before launching his eponymous Maison.
Now, the Louis Vuitton name is a symbol of enduring luxury—and a firm favourite amongst the style set.
If you missed the chance to immerse yourself in the world of Louis Vuitton at its latest global touring exhibition—pas de problèm. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to round up our top highlights from the show, from designer collaborations to archival pieces.
Forget photo walls. Within the SEE LV Exhibition, a statement-making ‘Bag Stories’ wall features the fashion house’s most iconic bags throughout its 168-year history. Created by Louis Vuitton in 1901, the Steamer bag was first designed as a spare bag to be folded into a trunk. The practical bag quickly became a wardrobe essential, bearing Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s tri-colour V which later became one of the House’s main signatures.
For the Maison’s Spring-Summer 2001 collection, the New York designer and artist Stephen Sprouse graffitied over Louis Vuitton bags by marking the classic monogram with his distinctive scrawl. It was a risky move that proved to be successful; creating some of the most memorable bags in the luxury brand’s history and paving the way for other artists to rework the once-sacrosanct monogram.
There’s no blending in with this cult fire hydrant-red backpack, first presented in the Men’s Fall-Winter 2004-2005 fashion show. A youthful icon of Louis Vuitton’s leather goods, the Christopher backpack was remodelled by English designer Kim Jones in 2017 in a collaboration with skate-wear brand Supreme. “The strength of [the Supreme] graphic versus the strength of the Louis Vuitton graphic with that kind of pop art feeling—it works together perfectly,” says Jones.
This beautiful hatbox is proof that Louis Vuitton conceived the art of travel. Inspired by British suitcases of the period, the Bessac is a hand-carried combination of a hatbox and suitcase. Best of all, it was fitted with a ribbon frame which enabled women to affix small hats to the trunk, ensuring that essential accessories would always be close to hand when traveling by air or rail.
ALMA PANTHERE BAG
In 1996, Louis Vuitton celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Monogram canvas originally created by Georges Vuitton. For the occasion, seven fashion designers were invited to work around the emblematic canvas, imagining new bags for travel and the city. The iconoclastic designer Azzedine Alaïa opted to reimagine the beloved Alma bag which he dressed in his signature motif: a panther-printed fabric.
Brought to you by Louis Vuitton.