Since 1854, fashionable travelers have hauled Louis Vuitton’s flat-topped trunks to every corner of the globe. Though the iconic Damier-checkered luggage is more likely to feature as a living room conversation piece than a bag these days, a significant collection of Louis Vuitton trunks has just arrived in America.
Last week, Louis Vuitton’s 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition landed in L.A., nearly one year after it first debuted at the Louis Vuitton family house in Asnières, France. Occupying an expansive, color-drenched space at 468 North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills (a short walk from the brand’s flagship), the exhibition incorporates vintage shipping crates, robots, and digital screen-integrating trunks to celebrate the fashion house’s legacy while plotting its course into the future.
The show’s roster of contributors is a veritable who’s who of designers, artists, and celebrities, testament to the depth and breadth of Louis Vuitton’s influence more than 200 years after its namesake designer’s birth.
Using the trunk as a blank canvas, feminist icon Gloria Steinem wrapped the piece in a yellow-lined legal paper inscribed with a message about travel and belonging. Members of K-pop supergroup BTS inked colorful illustrations on their trunk, and design-mind Bruce Mau opted for a rainbow number with his zero-gravity, light-reflective trunk. Among the architectural set, Gaetano Pesce melded trunk and tomb with a warning about ignorance and totalitarianism; Peter Marino posed a challenge to Harry Houdini with his inescapable, leather-strap-bound trunk; and Pierre Yovanovitch created a “box of ideas” made up of 27 rectangular coordinates magnetically toggled together.
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