WORDS Jo Buitendach PHOTOS Supplied
Louis Vuitton celebrates its founder’s bicentennial birthday with a showcase that highlights the company’s iconic travel trunk.
In the mid-1800s, Frenchman Louis Vuitton reinvented the idea of luggage, introducing a flat, stackable waterproof trunk in an array of chic fabrics. His in-demand luggage pieces were creative, elegant and practical. By 1905, his now ubiquitous initials made an appearance on the trunks and, well, you know the rest of that tale. Today, the LV trunk is as popular as ever, and an original could cost well over R100 000 at auction.
“200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries: The Exhibition” was launched in January 2022 at Vuitton’s historic Art Nouveau home in Asnières-sur-Seine, a village northwest of Paris. While the show may applaud the trunk and the man who conceived it, it also showcases new innovators: for the project, 200 of them get to produce their own interpretation of the LV trunk.
Music curator and DJ Benji B’s contribution is a moniker- adorned jukebox trunk loaded with a hundred of his favourite classic 7” records. Skateboarder, artist and filmmaker Beatrice Domond’s iteration is a fun skateable work. Acclaimed trends forecaster Li Edelkoort offers a lacquered black box with a gold interior, and Japanese flower artist Azuma Makoto’s gloriously colourful trunk is plastered in seed packets and based on the concept that “seeds travel”. There are 196 other ideas by the likes of starchitect Frank Gehry, Japanese designer Nigo, Lego, and even feminist journalist icon Gloria Steinem.
“200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries” will travel to Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, New York and London in 2022. Proceeds from the exhibition go to 15 charitable organisations in 13 countries, selected for their focus on uplifting young people through creative initiatives.