Christmas in the City

Enjoying an extended and-of-year break in New York City!

  • Extra days off from work – check.
  • Elbowing way through to Fifth Avenue Christmas windows – check.
  • Putting newfound navigating skills on ultra-packed streets to test – check.
  • Baking Greek Christmas cookies – check.
  • Go see the Rockettes – uh, maybe not this year. This type of variety show still has to grow on me.

A Radio City Stage Door Tour for an insider’s look at the Art Deco details, a walk into the – otherwise off-limits – Roxy Suite, a photo with a Rockette, cheesy as this may sound – check, check!

Starting point, a view over the Grand Foyer. Art Deco elements are omnipresent, floor to ceiling: the carpet we are walking on was designed by Ruth Reeves in 1932 to form a tile collage, each tile an abstract depiction of a musical instrument. Reeves had studied with French painter Fernand Léger in Paris in the early 1920s. Léger’s influence is evident in Reeves’ innovative design – so innovative that it looks every bit as modern today as at the time it was conceived, 85 years ago.Radio City’s interior designers Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey spared no expense nor effort to make the place as grand and stylish as possible. That is evident everywhere and restrooms are no exception. Here we are at the Ladies’ lounge, adjacent to the restroom on the third level, with a ”Panther” Mural of 1932, by Jenry Billings at its centre. Stylistically leaning towards Surrealism, still very much in place in an Art Deco environment. A ”Wild West” Mural, by Edward Buk Ulreich graces the Gentlemen’s lounge.The period leading to Christmas and New Year is the high season for the Rockettes who regularly go through their grueling routine of high kicks and tapping up to seven times a day and still do it with precision, impeccable style and – most difficult of all – a radiant smile (albeit a teary one at the end of the day). Here, we steal glimpses of one of their routines from the balcony.

Marveling at the vast, 6000-seat auditorium, where there are no pillars to obstruct the view, our guide informs us that, actually, it is what goes on under the stage that’s most impressive – the stage elevator system. This feat of engineering allows Radio City’s massive stage to be moved as necessary, in three parts, at the push of a button. Now, if that didn’t impress you just consider that, when assessed during the building’s massive renovation of 1999, the inspectors established that it was in such excellent condition, the elevator system was more or less the only feature that could be left untouched. It was built in 1932!

Interestingly, it attracted the Navy’s interest and the same principle was used in their aircraft carrier systems during World War II. It was thus that the stage elevator system of the Radio City Hall, became a national secret and even had its own government security agent guarding it throughout the War.
That staircase leads to Roxy’s Suite, where impresario Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel, the man who opened the venue and commissioned most of the features we enjoy today in Radio City Music Hall, used to receive his glamorous guests. Today, it is available to hire as a reception space. 

The Spirit of Dance, Aluminium Sculpture, 1932 – by William Zorach. This was one of three statues removed from the Music Hall just before its opening, because they were considered risqué. They were later reinstalled after several months, following strong criticism.The Phantasmagoria of the Theater by Louis Bouche, at the main lounge of Radio City Music Hall.

The crystal Christmas Tree stealing the limelight from the chandeliers and Ezra A. Winter’s epic mural that overlooks the grand foyer. ”The Fountain of Youth”, 1932, is one of the first commissions for the Music Hall and depicts a legend from the Oregon Indians about the beginning of time.

From the Radio City Music Hall, Happy Holidays to one and all!

Tour on November 26th, 2017

LV Loves America

And the feeling is mutual. Hat trunk in leather, once belonging to Marjorie Merriweather Post


Nicolas Ghesquière embroidered dress worn by Emma Stone at the 2017 British Film Institute Festival


Marc Jacobs feathers headpiece


With this last, highly instagrammable chapter, we end our walk through the history of a House whose name became synonymous with travel. Have you packed your wardrobe/hat/shoe steamer trunks yet? Me too! The question now is… where do we go next?

Volez
Voguez
Voyager

at the American Stock Exchange Building, through January 7th, 2018.

Admission is free

November 12th, 2017

LV & friends

Yayoi Kusama


Robert Wilson


The Music Room

Since the founding of the House of Louis Vuitton, exacting customers have been able to place unique special orders to fulfill their private purposes and dreams. There is no fantasy or extravagance that cannot be packed. Shower, trunk, altar trunk, bed trunk or cigar trunk – in every situation, Louis Vuitton matched the traveler’s ambition and unique needs with equal expertise. Musical instruments, fragile and delicate, are probably the most vulnerable items to pack. Whether a violin, a guitar or the conductor’s baton, cases were designed by the trunk-maker as protection and enhancement. 


Supreme
Skateboard trunk


Cindy Sherman
Studio in a trunk


Volez
Voguez
Voyager

at the American Stock Exchange Building, through January 7th, 2018.

Admission is free

November 12th, 2017

L’eau de Voyage

Because no voyage is complete unless accompanied by fond memories.
And nothing evokes fond memories faster than an exquisite fragrance in an elegant glass bottle.
As delicate as our very existence. As enduring as the spirit of a true traveller.

***

Louis Vuitton perfume bottles designed by Camille Cless-Brothier in early 1920s.

L’Arbre pleureur, enameled crystal perfume bottle; design by Camille Cless-Brothier, 1922.


Volez
Voguez
Voyager

at the American Stock Exchange Building, through January 7th, 2018.

Admission is free

November 12th, 2017

LVoyage – Voyage

In the nineteenth century, the evolution of transportation reduced distances. Steam vessels were put into service in the 1830s, linking Europe to the Americas. Railways in 1848, the invention of the automobile in the 1890s, and the advent of commercial airlines in the 1900s ushered the world towards new habits and life experiences.

Travelling by train meant that one could relax in their sleeping car, socialize over a cocktail in the restaurant, daydream, work, test the latest fashion trends on their fellow passengers. And, more importantly, one did not have to travel light. Desk trunks, library trunks, whole wardrobe trunks, designed to make travelers feel at home away from home, were considered an integral part of an experienced, sophisticated traveler’s baggage. Portable chest (hasami-bako) in black lacquered wood with gold lacquer patterned using the hiramaki-e technique, Edo period, late 18th and 19th century


Ideale Library trunk in monogram canvas, 1927


Desk trunk in natural cowhide, once belonging to Frank J. Gould, 1928


Jenner & Knewstub Berry’s fitted travel bag in leather, ca. 1864


Client records. For each client the house creates a record detailing special orders and customization requests, 19th to 20th century


Milo Anderson, silk satin nightdress worn by Lauren Bacall in ”Young man with a horn”, 1950


Brettes hat/shoe trunk, vanity case in monogram canvas
Alzer suitcase and Stratos case, all once belonging to Lauren Bacall


Satellite suitcases, vanity case, Deauville bag in monogram canvas once belonging to Elizabeth Taylor


Jeanne Lanvin hostess dress, worn by Mary Pickford, Winter 1948-49


Volez
Voguez
Voyager

at the American Stock Exchange Building, through January 7th, 2018.

Admission is free

November 12th, 2017

LVolez – The art of traveling light

In the early twentieth century, Louis Vuitton closely followed innovators who, from the airship to the airplane, blazed new trails in the air. To equip aviators and then passengers, the Aéro trunk could hold ”2 pieces of clothing, 1 overcoat, 10 shirts, 3 nightgowns, 3 pairs of underwear, 3 waistcoats, 6 pairs of socks, 12 handkerchiefs, 1 pair of shoes, 18 detachable collars, gloves, ties and hats” all weighing less than 57 pounds. Its dimensions were identical to the Aviette, a more feminine version. 

The dimensions of the Aéro trunk were:
H12.99in x W32.28in x D18.11in
H33 cm x W82 cm x D46 cm

All things considering, an early twentieth century Aéro trunk would still be every airline’s darling, even in today’s ever restrictive rules and shrinking space.

Louis Vuitton by Marc Jacobs long dress and cropped jacket with long skirt, S/S 2013
Marceau travel bag in cotton canvas, attributed to Dora Maar, c. 1950
Champs-Élysées travel bag in cotton canvas, once belonging to Madame Henry-Louis Vuitton, ca. 1950


Louis Vuitton by Sofia Coppola, SC Bag in monogram canvas, 2009


Boris Lipnitzki
Outfits by Paul Caret, next to a Nieuport airplane equipped with a Delage motor, Le Bourget (Seine-Saint-Denis), 1929


Model of the Blériot XI airplane, 20th century


Heures d’absence perfume, 1927


Volez
Voguez
Voyager

at the American Stock Exchange Building, through January 7th, 2018.

Admission is free

November 12th, 2017

LVoyagez – A Roadtrip

Organized between 1924 and 1925 by André Citroën, the Croisière Noire was primarily an ambitions anthropological and technological mission. Traveling through Algeria, Mali and the Congo aboard vehicles (such as the Gold Scarab and Silver Crescent half-track) developed especially for this excursion, the crossing was marked by physical and technical achievements, as well as scientific, ethnographic and geographic accomplishments. The House of Louis Vuitton accompanied the expedition at the request of Mr. Citroën. Special orders [for photos, see first post of this series] were made so as to offer trunks that were suited to climate, modes of transport and the practicalities of daily life for the explorers (tea sets, toiletry kits, etc.). The second expedition organized by André Citroën, the Croisière Jaune, took place a few weeks before the official opening of the Colonial Exposition of 1931, with the objective of crossing the legendary Silk Road through Asia. 

Chauffeur’s kit in vuittonite canvas, 1910


Dornac, 100 à l’heure travelling coat in Scottish wool twill, ca. 1923


Ladies’ flat hand bags in Morocco leather, ca. 1910


Driving googles, ca. 1900


Louis Vuitton by Marc Jacobs coated cotton coat, F/W 1998-99


Special car trunk for motobloc vehicles in vuittonite canvas, ca. 1908


Volez
Voguez
Voyager

at the American Stock Exchange Building, through January 7th, 2018.

Admission is free

November 12th, 2017

Louis Vuitton – In the beginning

Yan Pei-Ming
Louis Vuitton as a young man, 2015


In 1906, a reference catalogue precisely inventoried items and luggage from Louis Vuitton. The trunks that would make the House a success were already there. 


Louis, Georges and Gaston-Louis Vuitton posing with craftsmen in the courtyard of the Asnières-sur-Seine workshops, ca. 1888


Collage workshop at Asnières-sur-Seine, ca. 1903


Ideale trunk in natural cowhide, ca. 1903 with accessories from the 1900s


Paris suitcase in natural cowhide leather, 1914


Restrictive trunk in monogram canvas, once belonging to Gaston-Louis Vuitton, ca. 1925


Shoe trunk for thirty pairs of shoes in monogram canvas, once belonging to Yvonne Printemps, 1926


Volez
Voguez
Voyager

at the American Stock Exchange Building, through January 7th, 2018.

Admission is free

November 12th, 2017

Next stop, Louis Vuitton

After Paris, Tokyo and Seoul, it had to make a stop in New York City.

Curated by Olivier Saillard and designed by artistic director and set designer Robert Carsen, the exhibition ”retraces the adventure of the House of Louis Vuitton from 1854 to the present” in ten chapters (previously they were nine but for New York a tenth one has been added, entirely devoted to America and the City).

So, let’s pack our bags and Fly, Sail, Travel for a few days, together with LV. Adventure and grand style guaranteed. What say you? We’ll start with a cruise…

Bed trunk in damier canvas once belonging to Gaston-Louis Vuitton, 1892
Speed bag in monogram miroir vinyl, F/W ’06-’07
Sylvie Fleury Vuitton bag, 2001
Azzedine Alaïa, Panthère Alma bag, 1996
Alzer suitcase in nomade natural leather, created for Wes Anderson’s film ”The Darjeeling Limited”, 2006


Back to front:
Steamer trunk in zinc once belonging to the Count de Pimodan, 1895
Special trunk in zinc, 1899
Suitcase in coated canvas, custom-made for the Yellow Journey, 1930
Louis Vuitton by Nicolas Ghesquière, Boîte Promenade Croisière in canvas, F/W ’15-’16
Jean Luce for the Manufacture de Sèvres china tea set bearing the Croissant d’Argent Imprint, emblem of Louis Audoin-Dubreuil, ca. 1920-1930
It sits on a Yellow Journey bed trunk in duralumin, 1930


Special car trunk in coated canvas, custom-made for the Black Journey, 1924
Special photographer’s trunk in vuittonite canvas once belonging to Albert Kahn, 1929
Special trunk in vuittonite canvas, 1906


Steamer  bag in cotton canvas once belonging to Gaston-Louis Vuitton, ca. 1901
Louis Vuitton by Nicolas Ghesquière City Steamer bag in leather, Cruise 2016
Steamer trunk in vuittonite canvas once belonging to Lili Damita, 1928
Lucien Lelong evening gown, 1937


Tennis shorts once-piece, ca. 1930
Beach shorts once-piece, ca. 1930
Old England coat with belt, ca. 1930
Summer dress with belt, ca. 1930-32
Steamer bag in leather, 1938


Ensemble in crêpe de chine with a black and ivory pattern, ca. 1935
Steamer bags in cotton canvas, 1901
Callot Soeurs evening gown in rust-coloured silk velvet, ca. 1935


Volez
Voguez
Voyager

at the American Stock Exchange Building, through January 7th, 2018.

Admission is free

November 12th, 2017