Good news for Shanghainese Louis Vuitton lovers: LV’s exhibition “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez” is currently in the city! Yes, it’s the very same exhibition that Paris, New York, Tokyo and Seoul have seen, only with unique items that are of relevance to China. It will be running from November all the way to early next year—not too long, but just enough time for those interested to drop by. There should be lesser excuses, especially since the visit is free of charge.
The exhibition has come together partly due to curator extraordinaire Olivier Saillard, who was responsible for the very well-received Madame Grès display in Paris’ Musée Bourdelle, as well as Artistic Director and Set Designer Robert Carsen. The expo does more than letting its visitors revel in luxury as it also tells the story behind the beloved French label, beginning with the trunk that jump-started the centuries-old business. Translating to “sail, fly, travel”, it is a historical trip condensed into one venue that any frequent museum visitor would love to see. The very first of the sets were done in Paris in 2015, and was brought to other fashion capitals in the years that followed. “I think people will come away really surprised at the richness of the heritage of Louis Vuitton and understand why the marque continues to develop in the way that it does,” Carsen says of the ongoing project.
It’s Shanghai’s turn this year, with Louis Vuitton taking place in the Shanghai Exhibition Centre. About 1,600 items are housed by the architectural beauty, and are distributed in the 15 rooms that the exhibit occupies. There are standouts, such as the trunk owned by no less than the last French queen, Marie-Antoinette, loaned by the Musée du Chateau de Versailles, and steamer bags that date as early as the 19th to 20th century. But there are also pieces unique to the Shanghai display, with the brand trying to establish a link to the country. Must-sees include the trunk used by Albert Kahn who many presume to have taken the first colored photographs of China, a portrait of the brand’s founder by the painter Yan Peiming, and modern trunks reinvented by Chinese artists Xu Bing and Ding Yi. And as if the displays weren’t already plenty to take, visitors conclude the trip with a workshop where craftsmen differentiate the materials that go into Louis Vuitton products.
Upon the official opening of the exhibition, Shanghai became host to many local and international celebrities alike. Singer, actor and model Kris Wu, recently appointed as the brand’s global ambassador, was present and so was Du Juan, China’s foremost supermodel who had done campaigns for the brand in the past. Actresses Maggie Cheung, Tang Yan, Zhong Chuxi, Karena Lam, Léa Seydoux, Alicia Vikander, and Sophie Turner made appearances, and stateside celebs Jaden Smith and Joe Jonas were also snapped on the red carpet. As creative director of Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière was, of course, not one to miss the event.
More and more Western luxury brands are finding themselves in China, which is quickly becoming an important market thanks to the growing number of consumers willing to spend their money on life’s finer things, and that includes labels under LVMH. The exhibition can be seen as a not too aggressive attempt to reintroduce the brand to consumers. The campaign to bring more visitors to the exhibit has been far-reaching, thanks in part to the Internet. Louis Vuitton has partnered with apps commonly used in the area to advertise and even issue tickets in-app should users decide to drop by.
“Volez, Voguez, Voyager” will run until February 1, 2019—the holidays may be just around the corner but that should be plenty of time to visit. No Louis Vuitton merchandize would be sold on the exhibition, but Shanghai has enough stores to cater to your LV fix.
Image credits: LVMH newsroom, Marie Claire, Louis Vuitton