Ce N’est Pas Une Shop

This is me going mad with the Flip below outside the big cahoona of a store opening.  Probably the biggest cahoona of a store opening London will see this year if doom and gloom is to continue.  Some of you may have caught Louis Vuitton's live Facebook red carpet shenanigans last night on New Bond Street and it seems after a bit of Googling, the most typed term concerning the store launch is Gwyneth Paltrow's 'daring' keyhole dress.  I'm of course not going to be debating the level of bravado of a keyhold surrounding Paltrow's baps here.  Especially when I have nothing to say on the matter. 

I did however get a good snoop of the store this morning and …and…. oops…. gaff made already.  I've mentioned 'store' three times.  They're calling this a their Louis Vuitton New Bond Street Maison, NOT a store and is being branded by its architect Peter Marino as "the most luxurious Louis Vuitton Maison in the world" and the London Maison in particular is meant to make us smile (LV CEO Yves Carcelle apparently cares for our happiness too…).  It is stuffed to the rafters with art…. not just yer superfluous art as in the past ten years, Louis Vuitton, galvanised by Marc Jacobs' direction has entered into numerous artist collaborations which are all reflected in the 'maison'.  Stephen Sprouse, Richard prince and Takashi Murakami come to mind and their recently launched Young Arts programme also makes that link with British artists (featured in store and as part of the opening event) even stronger.  

The art pieces on display do jump at you as much as the products but of course, in a 15,000 sq meter three-floor space, product far outweighs art and even though the Bond Street address is supposed to be a celebratory showcase, ultimately, those products are still meant to grab you.  Art aside, question on my mind was whether the store is 'homely' enough (well I'm going by Marino's cue and translating maison quite literally…) to go in and browse, as I do with say Dover Street Market, without feeling like a freaky fraud – like I do when I go into a lot of Bond Street stores… or actually a lot of LV stores.  I'll answer that later.  Or maybe it will all become clear?                  




A better illustration of this can be seen in my little video above but I LOVED these scarf panels moving in and out like a Crystal Maze game… 


The 'art' aspect of the store is propped up by my favourite bit of the store, a temporary exhibition space which is currently taken over by mannequins styled by Katie Grand looking back and mixing and matching Louis Vuitton womenswear collections from the last ten years.  I specifically like that the seasons have been jumbled around a bit, yet still managing to look seamless, slick and perhaps a little more 'real' – alright, that last word is a misstep – it's still head to toe LV, but at least the looks are not a cardboard cut-out of the catwalks.  It's clear from the assembly of mannequins that, for me, the ready to wear, whilst overlooked in terms of sales when compared to the bags, have morphed into highly referenced/influential collections in their own right…  









… which leads nicely onto The Collection that I have gawped at in three now four, LV stores around the world (Paris, New York, Hong Kong and now London…).  I probably only went into LV about five times in my life in total before the drop of the S/S 10 collection – no money, no impetus, why bother – BUT… but… this was the collection that sealed the deal for me.  Actually, I'm talking about a deal that STILL doesn't exist – a pair of cycling shorts costs ¬£270 – today, I actually kidded myself into thinking that was something of a doable buy – what delusions.  I thought it would be rather boorish of me to harp on about how much I loved this collection at the time of shows in October because a) I don't do show reviews, b) there's no way in hell, I'd be able to own any of this stuff and c) wasn't it painfully obvious to you, me and everyone I know that touches of neon, mixed prints, brocades, furry/fluffy bits, a delicious pastel palette, supecool and superhip styling would all be right up my alley… ? 








The New Bond Street Maison store is apparently the only store in the world right now that has the new pre-fall collection in – leather fringing, tartan and leopard print… shouldn't work but it does…


I wasn't allowed to photograph it but there's also a book section, the first I've seen in a LV store with a reading space full of a selection of British contemporary art books – which gave a 'colette' feel to the space. 

The metal grill encasing the store is a recurring Louis Vuitton store motif of course but I love the scale of it seen here in the staircase which also sees part of the wall of travel luggage being displayed…


But back to art… to the maison… I find it quite fitting to end with a shot of part of Michael Landy's sculpture, that is assembled out of found objects – I was told this was a credit card destruction machine – where you can drop in yer (most likely over-the-limit) plastic and all will be shredded – I'm not sure if this is the official line Vuitton is going with but then again Landy's own artistic past what with his 2001 Break Down piece makes this sculpture a seemingly natural transition and a granted freedom for Landy to comment on 'luxury' and 'excess'.  This may not be an obvious dichotomy of course to people going into the maison but in my eyes, it's an off-joke that somehow, makes me a little bit happier about a 'maison' where I'm perhaps allowed to gawp… well, we'll see after S/S 11… or perhaps ¬£270 cycling shorts are on the cards? 


37 Replies to “Ce N’est Pas Une Shop”

  1. that video of the maison is wonderfully epic! love the briefcases on the walls and especially the moving shoes on the mannequins! those shoes are <3

  2. The mannequins are wearing “headbags”! Get it…? Instead of “handbags”? LOL Ok, I’m being silly. But the concept really does give new meaning to mixing art with fashion. Great photos!

  3. *picks up jaw* I’ve never really considered myself an LV fan (because to most people LV = icky logo bags, not cool clothes) but gawd that looks like a cool store. Also, haters gonna hate, but I LOVE the plaid coat with the fur trim SO SO MUCH.

  4. Bags for heads. What better way to symbolize women’s obsession for fashion? This has to be made into a bisaya short film or something. Like what filmmakers did on Imelda Marcos’ shoes whims.

  5. cery pretty things!! i also loved the theme you chose for the video, could you tell me the name of it and who sings it pleeeasse???

  6. This post is truly inspiring. Well, at least we now get a chance to discover the Mansion off you blog. When i see this kind of quality of design and the amazing presentation, I think to myself, O God, this is what I should aspire to, this is what drives fashion today, and yeah, i know the cheapest thing you find in there is a pair of cycling shorts for 270 pounds, but what the hell, I’m just quietly admiring these delicious, absolutely yummy designs.
    Thanks for this post Susie

  7. Louis Vuitton window display for me just like watching arts gallery. Just like arts meets fashion, especially what Marc Jacobs done for bag collaboration with Stephen Sprouse. Only magic can mix between street art with high class brand such as Louis Vuitton. But, Marc didnt use magic for sure.

  8. That’s ultimate window shopping, alas window shopping only lol. I love how the bags replaced the heads and the store really is like an art gallery! I love the surprising features here and there like the “walking” shoes, it brings on a whole new dimension to shopping. Amazing! <3

  9. Special privileges for the bubble! I thought ¬£310 for sandals was bad enough…but noooo…. get the MFP a/w 10 cycle shorts with leopard faux fur panel detail !!!!!!!!!!! What’s that? Your legs will get cold? Man up!

  10. Wowzers !
    Thanks for sharing…. Good to see they have the guts to launch something so spectacular amongst all the gloom !

  11. wow! i can’t say i’m generally a vuitton fan but the store looks awesome!
    this is so much how i’d do the little london boutique i have in my head.. and like to imagine i own… lots of surreality [a word?], with a definite sense of humour [i loved the walking shoes in your vid] and oversized art x fashion pieces…

  12. I have a friend who bought a number of Drive-In Movie sites around the Washington DC area many years ago. At one point I mentioned that Drive-In’s seemed like a lousy business to be investing in.

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