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As part of Louis 200, the brand will be releasing ‘a video game with embedded NFTs; store windows that showcase the iconic trunk as a vessel reimagined by 200 exceptional contributors; a large-scale triptych of Louis painted by Alex Katz; a fictionalised novel by French writer Caroline Bongrand about the life and intentions of Louis, published by Gallimard and available in French and English from October, as well as Looking for Louis, a documentary that retraces the story of the young pioneer.’
The celebratory initiatives are being presented without any corresponding product launches. Louis 200 aims to be ‘pure expressions of creativity, illumination, and generation. Instead of a typical exhibition, these alternate, entertaining formats invite the Louis Vuitton audience and community to explore the Maison’s history in a contemporary context’.
Festivities commence today and run over the next few months. Marking this occasion provides a beautiful opportunity to learn about the humble artisan behind the namesake brand that transcends time and disruption.
300 miles to Paris
At age 14, Louis determinedly set out on a journey to a new city in search of a decent life and to master a trade. It took two years for Louis to travel 300 miles by foot from his home in Anchay, a hamlet in eastern France to reach Paris.
The journey was fraught with many challenges. Louis quickly learned to become resourceful and entrepreneurial to ensure he had food and shelter along the way. Upon his arrival, Louis was confronted by a city experiencing extreme change and destruction due to the industrial revolution.
Within a short period of time, Louis found his way to renowned trunk maker and packer Romain Maréchal where Louis became his apprentice. He then went on to serve as a personal box-maker and packer to French Royalty and Paris’ most elite.
Louis’ journey reimagined
The first initiative as part of LV200 is Louis The Game, A Journey For All. The digital game takes inspiration from Louis’ adventure almost two centuries ago to create a transgenerational interactive story, spanning six imaginary worlds.
The game’s heroine is portrayed by Louis Vuitton’s mascot Vivienne. She embarks on an adventure, travelling great distances to reach a very special birthday-themed destination. Along the way, Vivienne must overcome obstacles collecting 200 monogram candles and unique keys to unlock new levels.
Louis The Game includes 30 NFTs, featuring esteemed digital artist Beeple. Whose work recently sold for 42,329 Ether which at the time was equivalent to $69.3 million. For a heritage luxury brand to adopt one of the most innovative technologies of our time truly shows their commitment to evolving and collaborating.
As players venture through imaginary worlds, each candle collected reveals ‘an anecdote or trivia spanning Maison collaborations, special orders, technical trivia, family history, artistic interventions, and runway highlights.’
The wonder players experience in the digital game is derived from the trunks that Louis Vuitton was known for making and packing. Those rectangle boxes chock full of secrets, stories and ideas on a journey to somewhere magnificent.
A visionary for all time
The Louis Vuitton store windows will be transformed to pay homage to a man who was known as the world’s best trunk maker — a true entrepreneur, innovator and dreamer.
The craftsman recognised early that luggage would play a big part in people’s lives as advancements in transportation began to mobilise the world.
As his reputation started to precede him, Louis opened his first workshop in 1854 near Place Vendôme, known at the time as the heart of Parisian luxury jewellery and fashion. The shop windows proudly displayed rectangle trunks of varying sizes. Ready to be carefully packed with fine frocks, shoes, jewellery and delicate belongings.
Unbeknownst to Louis, that window would go on to represent a stage for LV products years into the future. Perhaps the most special display so far will be unveiled on Louis’ birthday showcasing 200 trunks reimagined by visionaries of our time.
According to the company: ‘All 200 contributors share a common visionary mindset that translates impactfully in their respective fields. They were given carte blanche to create without limits and in any medium – to deconstruct, repurpose, interact with, project onto and refashion as an exercise in ingenuity. Whether drawing on artisanal techniques or augmented reality, using the surface for writing or for dancing, a multitude of personal paradigms have now emerged.’
Keeping his memory alive
Over the next few months, the creators of Louis 200 will release three more initiatives detailing Louis’ life through a fictionalised novel, documentary film ‘Looking for Louis’ and a large-scale triptych of Louis Vuitton by American figurative artist Alex Katz.
Louis 200 is set to be an extraordinary occasion. A legendary story told through multiple formats. Showcasing the luxury Maison’s legacy in a way that fully encapsulates how it came to be and the brand it is in 2021. Each initiative thoughtfully curated to connect with a new audience as well as long-time admirers of the luxury house.
The fact these celebrations are not in line with a product launch feels genuine and true to Louis. Focusing only on embracing the inherent values and characteristics of the founder that still exist today is an incredibly sophisticated and confident move by Louis Vuitton.
It’s no doubt the foundations of Louis Vuitton are strong enough to carry it into the next two hundred years gracefully. Taking people on a journey of wonder and delight as it consistently tells the story of a man who walked 300 miles in search of work, opportunities and a better life.