The Architect of Louis Vuitton

By Emily Jade Ricalton

Known for their extravagant designs and luxurious leather goods, Louis Vuitton has been paving the value of the fashion industry ever since it was founded in 1854 by the French malletier, Louis Vuitton (of course).

With their most expensive calfskin leather handbag from the SS20 Cruise Collection pricing at just £5,000.00, it is obvious to see that Louis Vuitton has an unchangeable worth to the brand. With the handbag being sold out online, as a brand, Louis Vuitton have a fashionable worth that customers crave and desire, no matter the price.

Benard Arnault, the chief executive and chairman of Louis Vuitton, has a current net worth of $106.6 billion (£82,465,760,00.0 billion), making the fashion house the world’s largest luxury-goods company. Due to this reason, in more recent years, the LMVH (Moët Hennessy, Louis Vuitton) has begun to invest in other projects that helps to promote the elegance associated with this Parisian brand altogether.

Louis Vuitton Place Vendôme, Paris

At the end of December 2017, Louis Vuitton welcomed the opening of their flagship store in Paris, locating the shop on Place Vendôme within the first arrondissement of the capital city. The specific location of the building was purposely selected to represent the fashion house’s return to its original home – the square where its iconic founder opened his first trunk shop just over 160 years ago.

The architecture of the store was left to Peter Marino, an American architect who has previously been used for other designs of various Louis Vuitton stores, such as the one situated on Rodeo Drive. The former American Institute of Architects student was inspired by the theme of ‘rebirth’ when designing the stylistic attributes used for the Place Vendôme store. Paris has been commonly described as the ‘City of Lights’, due to its restored safety and security during Louis the Great’s reign, giving a perfect, yet direct source of inspiration for the highly-regarded architectural artist.

And yet, this light and tranquil aesthetic of the building definitely portrayed throughout Peter’s sculpting work. As quoted by Marino, the architect wanted to ‘juxtapose a modern aesthetic to everything within the walls and restore… (as) faithfully as possible the exterior’ of the 18th-century hotel, showing the ‘balance between modern and old’; something of which the heritage of Paris is all about.

As well as redesigning the shop to become commercially acceptable for the high-end fashion trade, Marino also featured a golden sun installation on the exterior of the building; allowing its rays to extend across the surface of the construction. His main inspiration behind this idea draws back to this idea of new life and rebirth, symbolizing the evolution and growth that this extortionate fashion house has made in its 100 years of existence.

The installation itself was made out of stainless steel and consists of gold tones that successfully connotes the luxurious, sophisticated and expensive message that Louis Vuitton thoughtfully constructs for its loyal customers.

Louis Vuitton New Bond Street, London

Unlike this Parisian design, which was only temporary for its opening back in 2017, the newly renovated Louis Vuitton store located in Bond Street, West London, represents an element of architectural perfection that should withhold its breathtaking image for an extremely long time.

Governing the corner-block of New Bond Street, Peter Marino’s construction of this particular store represents images of a childlike creation that is so uniquely different to other shop installations seen before. Drawing upon the art created for the London store, Marino compares his work to evoking feelings of ‘happiness with no feeling of intimidation’, allowing the colours of this incredible piece to create a rare fascination and excitement within its viewer. The use of gaudy and shocking colours were inspired by Louis Vuitton’s focus on exaggerated patterns and designs, raising awareness about the brand’s purpose and meaning within the fashion industry as a whole.

Once again, the architectural shape of this particular building was inspired by an evolution of clarity and motivation for Louis Vuitton, with Marino suggesting that the installation was a step towards lighter and happier associations of fashion– something of which clothes should be, fun and unrestrictive.

Marino used the 14-month renovation to create a place where customers could travel around freely and willingly. In doing so, there were a range of changeable gallery spaces installed into the building, which currently use the work of around 25 artists to help educate dedicated shoppers on the purpose and escapism of creative formats.

Having said that, fashion is still an expressive form of creative art, and within a world of mass consumption, I believe a lot of buyers tend to forget this element of the materialistic world. The purposeful use of architectural designs and overstated buildings can help to be a reminder of the beauty, work and thought that goes into garment production of our favourite designer brands, like Louis Vuitton. As mentioned previously by Marino, building installations can be a reminder of happiness and other passionate emotions, giving our chaotic high-street stores a place to breath, relax and open up to a world of lost creativity. After all, fashion is just another form of art that is similar to the creative processes of architectural design.