On March 7th, 2012 our MFB students had the privilege of attending Shanghai’s Louis Vuitton skyscraper location. Towering 40 floors high in Plaza 66, the decadent luxury store welcomed nine of our students to a guided tour from Assistant Manager Celia Huang.
After introducing students to the luggage label’s extensive heritage, the malletierdesign concept brought new meaning to this elite French design house. Louis Vuitton pioneered a future in customization of trunks and leather goods in the early 19th century – revolutionary for those traveling abroad on boats and trains. His iconic designs, most famously the Damier checkerboard print, are internationally recognized in contemporary fashion for their status and quality. His intuitive nature allowed him to specialize his craft, anticipating the needs of a future market. The designs resulted in an aesthetic, which resonates with consumers on a simultaneously traditional and contemporary level.
Attention to detail and quality have contributed to the lasting popularity of Vuitton’s leather goods. Each bag requires a minimum three-hour hands on assembly – an astounding statistic for today’s manufacturers.
Louis Vuitton has maintained current relevance as a brand due to its necessity. Travel has changed immensely since the label’s inception in 1854, and Vuitton and his family have honored this history, while adhering to the future of travel. As a result, the company expanded in the early 20th century (accumulating a staggering current statistic of 2400 stores worldwide) fostering the importance of Monogram purses as a new condition for status quo. The brand continues to open international stores with more than 50 current locations in Mainland China alone.
Now well versed in Louis Vuitton’s history, our students continued their journey to the global store on Huaihai Road, which boasts a versatile collection from Marc Jacobs’ current collection. Once again, the store’s Assistant Manager, Patricia Yao guided us through a professional account of the brand’s historical significance. There, a wide selection of contemporary accessories including watches, sunglasses and, of course handbags complimented Vuitton’s RTW garments, which were interspersed with select special edition pieces, such as a vintage 1930s trunk.
Huahai’s multi-level décor only enhanced the influential nature of a luxury luggage label that has collaborated with profound artists such as Stephen Sprouse and Takashi Murakami. In correlation with their meticulous craft, the store’s ambience exuded refined elegance and calculated luxury. Soft-lit rooms aplomb with baroque couches and ceramic statues created a special atmosphere, easily urging consumers to justify lavish expenditures. Such an evocative display is best described as a feeling rather than aesthetic; the magic happens inside.
Shortly after our visit to the bustling store, we returned to reality: our Cinderella moment dissipated and we were left with a mere fleeting feeling of royalty. Effectively exuberant, however, Vuitton successfully continues to build dreams on decadence.