Abstract, beautiful, innovative, overpowering and queasy, are just some of the words that spring to mind when describing the incredible Louis Vuitton Series 3 exhibition in London. You might be thinking I can see LV being all of those things, but queasy, well trust me anti-sickness pills might be in order if you are prone to travel sickness as the journey around the exhibit at 180 The Strand, close to Somerset House, really tests all your senses to showcase a modern reinterpretation of a LV fashion show.
The idea of the free exhibition is to discover LV artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière’s inspirations and to deconstruct the Paris Fashion Week autumn/winter 2015 womenswear show to showcase all the elements that go into making a collection. You literally weave through 11 rooms over three floors for a sensory overload, which I’m equating to actually being inside Ghesquière consciousness, you’ll see high-speed videos, laser beams drawing out patterns, 3D mannequins, a giant poster room to make all teenage girls bedrooms jealous, as well as lots and lots of gorgeous, lust-worthy accessories to add to your wishlist.
The journey starts with an optical illusion, showing the classic LV logo revolving, and you should know that this is the first of many beautiful but queasy moments. Next up, you are greeted by a geodesic dome suspended from the ceiling, in reference to the structure built for the PFW show at the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. It’s beautiful and tranquil, the way the lights create patterns on the atrium wall had me mesmerised, I really could have stood there forever. Then I realise that it’s just the calm before the rush and slightly dizzy experience of the Master Mind, a fast-paced moving video-screen view into the creative process and inspiration of Ghesquière, with a LV heritage trunk at the heart of the room.
Next up, Artists’ Hands, the heart of Louis Vuitton seeing its artisans at work, where you can literally sit at a desk and be the hands of an artisan creating a La Petite Malle. You’ll also notice that this is an entirely mirrored wall, so, of course, that means that everyone, even the elderly couple that were on our tour trying to nail the perfect selfie.
Want more selfie opportunities, the Infinite Show room will help with that, as while models parade on screens around the room re-living the excitement of the catwalk show, you can use one of the many mirrors to get your angle just right!!! I walked around this section and it really felt like I was in Paris, part of the catwalk, and I loved seeing the life-sized screens showing the collection up close. This is a fun room, trust me sit down and enjoy it before moving onto the next section.
So you’ve seen an artisan via a clever video projected onto desks and the next room, The Science of Savoir-Faire, brings you the science behind the creativity of the designer, creating the elements of a pattern with the precision of the laser. It was quite a strange experience standing in the dark watching a single laser blade animate the cutting of shoes and bags from the autumn/winter 2015 collection.
One of the hold-your-breathe moments had to be the A Tale of Craftsmanship room where you can actually watch an atelier at work creating the gorgeous LV trunks by hand. The caption on the wall states that this is where “time stands still” and it’s incredible to see the precision and time it takes to make one of these classic LV pieces by hand, as well as all the elements involved. I think this had to be one of my favourite rooms.
The Accessories Gallery doesn’t need any explanation, it is filled with the beautiful accessories from the AW15 collection, including the gorgeous pink trunk, but it should come with a warning, this bright white room is overwhelming to your senses. Not only does the white blind you but the life-like 3D mannequins molded to the wall disorients you as you weave between the sculptures wearing stunning heels, gorgeous sunglasses and dreamy handbags.
From bright light to a Walk in Wardrobe, a room that got a lot of oohs and aahs of jealousy at seeing the collection realised into actual clothes displayed behind glasses cabinets like works of art.
Nearing the end of the sensory adventure comes The Lounge, somewhere to gain your composure, which gave me chance to stop spinning, as well as a place to sit down and have tea and a cake and discuss the wonders of this exhibition. This is also where you can pick up free LV stickers, yep get your initials and pick out your favourite pieces to stick wherever you please. I can tell you now I’m going to jazz up one boring notepad with these beauties. The problem you will have is choosing which accessories you want to take home with you – sunglasses, shoes or a bag?
The fun doesn’t stop there as the last stop on the Louis Vuitton Series 3 tour is the Poster Room, where you can see all the current campaigns and LV muses, plus you get to take home a poster as a souvenir. I can’t wait to bluetack my beauty to my office wall, I do love a 14-year-old flashback moment.
The fact that this exhibition is free is enough of a reason to check it out, be quick though as it is only on until October 18, and I would suggest pre-booking one of the guided tours, not only it is very informative, but I think they’ve just employed all the dreamy LV male models to talk you through the exhibit.