Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe to my articles. I'll update you with lots of fun and often free adventures in your home town.
History and fashion - it's all in the bag
Rebecca Judd attending Louis Vuitton Time Capsule Exhibition
Whilst not on the grandiose scale of the NGV, this exhibition is still vast and absorbing and even better in being completely free to attend.
And as Chadstone, The Fashion Capital is home to a number of iconic fashion brands afterwards, you can walk out turn the corner and find oneself in a Louis Vuitton store. This felt like a worthy extension to the experience as it allows one to smell some of the fragrances from the travel kits and see the latest extravagances from this iconic brand.
Louis Vuitton shop Chadstone and that air of exclusivity - Photo Nadine Cresswell-Myatt
The Louis Vuitton Time Capsule runs from Saturday 24 February until 21 March 2018. This means you only have a month to get yourself to Chadstone to see this stylish exhibition, which has previously been shown in other fashionable cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Berlin, Singapore and Dubai.
The Chadstone exhibition opened to much aplomb on February 23 with initial guests including Jarrod Scott (snowboarder) Scotty James (actor) Matt Wilson, (creative director) Carmen Hamilton (creative director) Amanda Shadforth (presenter) and Rebecca Judd (Chadstone ambassador) and social personality, LauraPanton.
The exhibition trails through a series of six rooms that take in a timeline of the history of the LV fashion house, which was founded in 1854. It would be easy to rush through and say 'oh an Louis Vuitton Time Capsule Exhibition travelling trunk and, wow, wouldn't I just die to own that red bag' but slow down, absorb and ask questions for there is a rich social history here.
You can learn much from the exhibition notes, but also from the innovative QR code you can download on your smartphone through the Messenger app. But even better repositories of information are the approachable and fashionable ambassadors you will note dressed in black manning the various rooms. They have been trained to answer all questions about Louis Vuitton's creations, a task they do remarkably well and often in a euphonious French accent.
One of the things I really got out of this exhibition is just how much Louis Vuitton was in tune with the new and changing ideas about travel. The Vuitton's vertical steamer trunks were particularly popular. Designed like portable pieces of furniture they could be stood upright like wardrobes. Inside were drawers, compartments and hangers, allowing travellers to transport their belongings without needing to unpack at every port of call.
The image below shows a modern rendition that was created for former Australian Cricket Captain, Michael Clarke.
The round, oversized chauffeur's case to house a spare tyre and a change of clothes from the early days of the automobiles morphed into the compact and fashionable round women's handbags we know of today.
In fact, many of the features of the historic luggage such as iconic shapes, straps and handles have come down through the years and ended up as features in the 'to die for Louis Vuitton handbags'. These are known in French as Petite Malle, which directly translates to small trunks
Surprising sights in the exhibition luggage created in 1905 for the explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza who ordered a camp bed when travelling to the French colonies as he didn't like roughing it. If you look underneath, you will see that it folds down into a Louis Vuitton case. Above this exhibit a more modern creation a bed that folds down into a backpack!
Note how this bed can be folded back into its box. Photo: Nadine Cresswell-Myatt
Another is a skateboard carrier. There must be some incredibly wealthy skateboarders out there or some incredibly poor parents. The skateboard trunk is made through the same process LV has been using for more than 100 years — handcrafted using three different types of wood and the best quality leather. It contains a skateboard, a toolkit, trucks, wheels and a shoulder strap. I believe it cost around $54,500 USD.
Innovation and technology are everywhere in this exhibition. You move through the first room where an artisan works on a bespoke bag to show you the intricate making of each creation and then through the rooms until you reach the 160-year visual timeline, where you are in the dark but surrounded by flashing multimedia screens seemingly emanating from a LV trunk in the middle of the room.
For anyone interested in fashion, social history, or finding out about luxurious manifestations of wealth, then this exhibition is for you. Although perhaps leave the knockoff copy handbag you bought in Bali at home that day.