Paris exhibition unpacks the first-class careers of luggage king Louis Vuitton and his successor Marc Jacobs
23:26 GMT, 9 March 2012
An exhibition that charts the history of the Louis Vuitton company has opened in Paris.
The first LV bag pattern was patented by Vuitton in 1877 and remained largely unchanged for 120 years until Marc Jacobs took over creative control of the company.
But while the two designers may have been working in different centuries, the exhibition, which is at Muse Les Arts Dcoratifs until September, draws on similarities between them.
Fashion forward: The exhibition displays the evolving style of the Louis Vuitton brand, including the bags that were redesigned by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, commissioned by Marc Jacobs
their portraits hanging side by side, both sporting
moustaches as per the trend of their age, and goes on to display how the company has evolved, with exhibits of turn-of-the-century dresses and mannequins with bags sprayed with 21st century graffiti.
Museum curator Pamela Golbin
explained why she decided to make the comparison between the two
creative minds at the exhibition opening.
both visionaries, though they would be the last to admit it, and they
both lived an exact same story at a decisive moment in fashion,' she
Old fashions: Louis Vuitton showed a canny knowledge of his clientele, who loved the glamour of the first-class train travel and needed luggage that would protect their clothes on the long journeys
Both designers had
relatively humble beginnings, compared the $19billion fortune of the
company they both helped to create today.
Vuitton started his career as a trunk packer for rich Parisians who were enjoying the vogue for first-class train travel. He started his own brand of elite luggage label in 1854, which was still booming when the Orient Express launched three decades later.
Creative forces: A 1892 drawing of Louis Vuitton (left), who started his career as a bag packer for the Parisian elite before starting his own luggage company, hangs with a photograph of Marc Jacobs
Jacobs was a young boy with an eye
for fashion growing up in New York's Upper West Side, who lived with his
grandmother after his mother remarried several times.
Both also showed a flair for the marketing potential of fashion.
No carry on: A poster from 1898 promotes the different type of luggage produced by Louis Vuitton
The exhibit features the huge 'Never
Full Bag', which Vuitton produced in 1870 to catch the eye of ladies who
thought nothing of taking 30 large cases of clothes on one trip.
In 2003, Jacobs showed an equally savvy
awareness for his target market by commissioning the Japanese artist
Takashi Murakami to revamp the iconic LV monogram, as well as working
with singer Kayne West.
Ms Golbin also pointed to shared challenges faced by the designers.
She said that Vuitton had to deal with the increasing industrialisation of the 19th century, while Jacobs had to take a traditional Parisian company and make radical changes for his world market, 'making fashion truly globalized for the first time'.
Ironically, Jacobs' creative innovation has bought the fashion house full circle.
In the show for his most recent collection, models wearing clothing that echoed turn-of-the-century fashions arrived by an original Orient Express train and walked down the catwalk, accompanied by porters carrying their luggage.