Where do you put a red carpet brimming with some decent celebrities and a couple of slebs? In the new Louis Vuitton Maison bien sûr!! Which, apparently, rivals the flagship on the Champs Elysée; the architect Peter Marino worked on both projects.
Features of the 1500 sq m store are as follows:
The ground level is entirely accessories. Acting as backdrop to these are original artworks by artists who have collaborated with Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton Creative Director of 12 years) in the past. Names on the wall here include Richard Prince and Takashi Murakami.
The lower level is devoted to menswear and can be reached via an LED glass staircase.
Onwards and upwards leads to the womenswear and shoes. Here is yet another sight to behold and investigate. Artists Chris Ofili, Gary Hume and Anish Kapoor have been selected to create bespoke commissions to adorn the walls. The Librairie - also situated on the first floor – will house the most admired British contemporary art books and some bespoke pieces for sale for up to £3000.
The second floor, in case you were wondering, is only accessible to those with an invitation. Private Client Suite. Sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it.
Somewhere amongst this incredible structure is included a two storey wall made from trunks. Thinking about it, they’re probably those beautiful old Louis travelling trunks and maybe not vertical tree trunks as I originally imagined. Idiot.
The theme of the store is the mood of 21st century London (obviously not keeping in mind the impoverished, recession-ridden Londoners amongst us) to bring together innovation, heritage and fashion which, CEO Carcelle says ‘are all values that are important to Louis Vuitton’.
A quote from Marc Jacobs on the night runs as follows:
"Clearly it's gross if you carry on spending in an insensitive way when people are being laid off or having a hard time. On the other hand, wanting to shop and experience the finer things in life are both natural instincts… The question is how to indulge those impulses in a way that's sensitive to others and doesn't ultimately ruin the experience by leaving you feeling guilty."
I do agree to a certain extent. Hundreds of surveys have been carried revealing thousands of statistics showing that the great British public has been being super careful with their spending sprees. The general consensus is that the average shopper (and I include myself in this bracket) don’t want to go to Primarni and spend say £80 on a lot of very cheaply made clothes that will inevitably be threadbare within a week. Instead, people will go up a price bracket from their normal budget and buy a beautifully made, much better quality piece that will last not only over time and wear but also carry through seasons.
This is another point about how we have changed to acclimatise to our economic surroundings. The two issues are very closely linked. The shopper buying the piece that will last, may well also be in the bracket of ‘Fashion Girl’ or, if we’re being crude, ‘Internet Knowledge Whore’. Ie people who spend their days researching the newest collections from designers as well as any other scrap of knowledge that they may come across.
This issue must be a complete nightmare for designers who have stuck to the schedule of SS/AW for decades. Fashion Girls with their infinite internet knowledge have everything they need so accessibly at their typist fingertips. Then they go and post on their blogs (ahem) for the rest of the consumers to pick up. This is what the fashion houses have to overcome.
It’s not good enough now for them to manufacture flimsy trend based collections that can only last a few weeks because people are much more likely to spend the cash on a staple dress or jacket that will see them through a couple of years. Take the Burberry Jacket or the Alexa Mulberry that could take over the world given the right iPhone app judging by the clamorous following they’ve gathered. A 9000 person strong waiting list is currently in circulation for that stunning Alexa and Burberry controversially created a facility for their AW show earlier this year where the pieces were available to buy straight off the catwalk causing the obsession with the sheepskin jacket.
These pieces are going down a storm because they are very beautiful with gorgeous design, are hopefully manufactured to the same standard and are reasonably basic. The basic element to this nods towards how hopefully these pieces will be accepted in fashion circles for longer than a month.
Now follows a small selection of loads of images of beautiful people that I swiped from the Vogue site as well as why they made my selection. (Apart from the fact that they obviously frequent Louis Vuitton flagship Maisons.)
Speak of the devil - Alexa thought she'd pop in.
Bill Nighy and James Purefoy - because I met James Purefoy when I was thirteen and fancied him a Lot.
Catherine Deneuve because I love her and think she's probably one of the most beautiful women as well as an incredible actress.
Dominic Cooper - because who wouldn't? Though doesn't look that hot in this shot.
Gemma Arterton - because I recently heard an interview and I think we should be friends.
Gwynnie and Elle - because they look great and I enjoy GOOP quite a lot.
Kirsten Dunst - because, how amazing does her hair look?!
And Paloma Faith because she manages to be absolutely everywhere at once and someone should give her some credit for efforts. Not looking as eccentric as usual here...bar the lampshade.