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Vintage Louis Vuitton NYC | Volez Voguez Voyagez Exhibition

Love Louis Vuitton? Well, who doesn’t? Counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags line the streets of 5th ave as they are being sold out of garbage bags to try and stay “undercover.” Whether you got it in Chinatown, on the streets of New York, or some random website, countless New Yorker’s continue to try and obtain what they cannot afford. So how did they company become what everyone all over the world wants? The “Volez Voguez Voyagez” exhibition explains it all through a timeline.

Louis Vuitton’s exhibit is held in the old New York Stock Exchange at 86 Trinity Place.

Exhibit Dates: October 27th, 2017 to January 7th, 2018

Volez voguez voyagez translates to “Sail, Fly, Travel” which is just what Louis Vuitton trunks are for. The exhibit takes you on a traveling vacation through time. It starts with the reason why Louis Vuitton is here today: The trunk of 1854. Why this trunk over all others in retail catalogs? It had distinctive elements such as canvas motifs, locks, ribbon tufting, able to last through climate change, and most of all, wood.

Yachting and The Steamer Bag: Is noted as a “precursor to the modern day gym bag.” The simple pieces of functionality that we take for granted today, were new inventions back then. The rise in success of this bag was needing a bag that could be folded and stored in something else. it was lightweight, and sturdy. The start of boating and yachting vacations started in the 1910s, and with that came the need to change with the change of the weather. Where does one put their clothes after they change? Louis Vuitton solved that issue of multiple wardrobe changes with the Steamer Bag.

The Success Continues: As travel booms, the Louis Vuitton company does as well. From the creation of the automobile, planes, trains, fashion, and a society symbol, Vuitton evolved and flourished through it all. How did a competitor not come in between the success? Louis Vuitton has always had superior quality, and trust among whom they showcased their products with. Before the notion of “brand ambassadors”, Louis Vuitton had, (and still does) a very affluent list of names in their clientele book. From kings and queens back in the day, to socialites, celebrities, athletes, and designer collaborations today, I do not see the empire every going away.

My Experience Through the Exhibit: 

I went in the middle of the day on Saturday November 11th. This was the first cold weekend of New York. Although there was no snow on the ground, it sure felt like there was. A friend and I waited outside for over an hour to see the exhibit. Let me tell you it was COLD. Rule of thumb: If you want to go, play it safe and get a fast-past. This way you will be able to skip to the front of the line. Places such as the World Trade Center/ Brookfield Place have pop-up information booths about the exhibit. You can get free “fast-passes” there. We did not reserve a spot online (it’s free either way), but they let us in anyways! I suggest reserving tickets online just incase. I would have been so upset after waiting in line for over an hour to be told that we could not be let in.

Walking throughout the former Stock Exchange building, you slowly move from room to room aside hundreds of other people. Each room takes you through time, showcasing how all of the different trunks and bags were used. A majority of the trunks are packed so that their function is clear to the observer. Alongside the trunks and various bags are Louis Vuitton apparel pieces. I loved seeing the timeless antique pieces, and some I would even wear today. Everything on display was in excellent condition, you would never be able to guess that some pieces were hundreds of years old. A big difference in the product appears suddenly once the 2000s start. Marc Jacobs collaboration with the brand was definitely the most unique. With the words painted on in white, and the bags in various round shapes, the brand was given a risk. (Which of course ended being successful once again). Marc had been the artistic director for Louis Vuitton since 1997, and brought in new cultural codes of trends that blended seamlessly. I am a die hard Marc Jacobs fan, so this was really exciting for me to see.

Worth the Wait?

Overall, if you do not have a deep love and appreciation for Louis Vuitton and fashion, I do not think that you would believe this exhibit was worth the wait. The building was cold, there are people everywhere, and only a few good “Instagrammable” spots. Although I do have to say that the last room where there is a large screen showing red carpet looks from Louis Vuitton and the wall is graffiti style with hot pink letters. Come knowing what you want your pose to be so that you are not waiting in line forever to use one piece of the wall. But when in doubt, in a room of highly fashion driven and creative people, their picture poses may inspire a look for your own. The end of the exhibit consists of a room with books, perfumes, and other small items. I was honestly confused, as I could not tell if any of these things were actually for sale or not. Regardless of the funds you have available to spend, everyone is given a pin that mirrors something inside the exhibit or one of the pop-up locations.

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