Grands classiques (a French phrase for describing coveted icons) are new, innovative, and sometimes shocking when introduced, but over time they become classics. The idea of grands classiques is something Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director, aimed to capture this year, albeit with a signature focus on simplicity. Louis Vuitton is a brand characterized by iconic innovation—a deep reverence for its heritage constantly informs new designs and fresh ideas for the future.
A focus on retail and sales networks, along with a continued emphasis on creativity and quality, characterize the company’s strategy this year. It continues to develop two iconic new handbag styles: the Capucines (launched in 2013, named after the Rue des Capucines in Paris, where Louis Vuitton opened its first store in 1854) and the Petite Malle (created by Nicolas Ghesquière in 2014, which reflects the fashion house’s trunk-making heritage). Unfortunately, the brand has been affected by a market slowdown in China, which has impacted the luxury sector as a whole. With Louis Vuitton affected, which accounts for one-third of total LVMH group sales, Ghesquière is bringing the brand back with what he describes as its three-word philosophy: timelessness, authenticity, and innovation.
Louis Vuitton has harnessed these values for strong creative momentum. This past year has seen the unveiling of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry; the opening of La Fabrique du Temps, a watchmaking factory in Switzerland; and a bold celebration of the Monogram in collaboration with an array of visionaries from Karl Lagerfeld to Marc Newson.
With a heritage rooted in travel and the spirit of adventure, the brand placed a strong emphasis on travel pieces throughout its collections. “Don’t believe in borders,” and “dare to new frontiers” are just a few of the sentiments from “The Spirit of Travel,” Louis Vuitton’s campaign film, which values the experience of the journey as much as the destination. The video acts as both campaign film and travel brochure, reminding consumers to return to a time when the journey—and the brand you experienced it with—was the adventure itself.
A combined focus on product, innovation, and the retail experience continues to be key for Louis Vuitton. As the brand’s beautifully immersive Series 3 exhibition arrives in London, it offers a timely framing of the conversation around accessibility and exclusivity.