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Monday, May 21, 2012

Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs; Two Worlds Collide

When making an innovation cake, it may be the best recipe to blend Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs together.  Of course the people at LVMH probably knew that, considering that Jacobs is Creative Director of Louis Vuitton.  But to put the two together in a museum exhibition is exquisite.  It is thoughtful.  Provoking.  Symmetrical.

Housed at the important and royal Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, the "Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs" exhibit is only capable of inspiration, irritation and isolation.  Walking into the show, the bottom floor is filled with LV treasures, but it begins by telling the story of an era.  I was drawn to the doll's trousseau.  I always loved playing with dolls as a girl - perhaps that is why I love to collect and fill my closet with beautiful things.  Living the fantasy of a ten-year-old.  But to understand what M. Vuitton was facing as he tried to perfect the trunk was enlightening.  So many bits and pieces that were not so collapsable or rollable (as I prefer to pack my things).  

These garments were large and substantial. They required a ship.  And a serious trunk with drawers and removable pieces and jewelry boxes.  They carried quality not quantity.

But there was innovation in what M. Vuitton was doing.  Not only did he personify and characterize trunks, but he made them interesting and beautiful.  He made them a source of wonder for where the traveler was going.

Walking the exhibit you hear the trace calling of John Adams' The Chairman Dances: Two Fanfares for Orchestra leading you up the stairs to the Marc Jacobs portion of the show, you are transferred to a different world entirely.  Disparagingly so.  You are led to the world of video installation screens by curator, Pamela Golbin.  Meant to look like those of a Tumblr page, it is a collage of moving videos and still photographs providing a glimpse of Mr. Jacobs' inspirations. Also a musical collage, songs like It's A Hard Knocks Life, Louie Louie, Gypsies: by Cher, Memories: by Barbara Striesand emerge over.  And videos with scenes from movies like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Belle du Jour, Wizard of Oz  mixed with scenes from South Park, The Simpsons, Studio 54 and more, all create an image board of beauty.  Wonder.  Oddity.

I think I had died and gone to heaven.  And then came the reality of the ridiculous bags.  I guess they are a staple of LV.  A must have.  A Nutcracker of fashion.

But the clothes were shown beautifully in glass cages in various forms.  I particularly enjoyed the animal mannequins - the caged panther was delightful and evocative of something.  Our own imagination?

Finishing through the "peep show" of Mr. Jacobs' collections, as if it were something naughty to see or to be protected from the view of everyone, I escaped unscathed by waving nurses without faces, but with recognizable nurse hats spelling out "LOUIS".  The "VUITTON" missing.



SB said...

Like it! Thanks for bringing this exhibit to life for us and sharing with those who cannot make it to see the amazing display.

Claire said...

You've provided us another wonderful guided tour. I'm finding it fascinating to see how the curators are matching the art of the designers. It reminds me of how the clothes and their sides are always a part of a great cultural movement, each aspect lighted by the foods, the meeting places, the written words, the moving and frozen images, all feeding the imaginations of the moment. We're in a time of heightened self-awareness, and we love to be shown the frames that sustain the creations.