Fitting two hundred candles on a birthday cake is an ambitious ask. But building a cake for someone’s 200th birthday out of 31,700 Lego bricks, is achievable after 50 hours, with the ingenuity of a luxury house’s French atelier and seven children.
The innocence of youth is a protection from envisioning obstacles or barriers. So kids create freely, masterfully, joyfully, and exquisitely. Sure, getting older puts years between that juvenile stage. But creative visionaries, never divorce themselves from that childlike joy and affinity for creativity as the years go by. And perhaps, that’s where each anniversary of life, can be more delightful, than cause for dread.
The bicentennial birthday this illustrious cake in an LV-monogrammed trunk celebrates: Louis Vuitton. His lifelong dedication to push the boundaries of innovation, lengthened his influence past his seventy years. Vuitton didn’t constrain himself to the rectangular trunks of the Industrial Revolutionary time, when railroad travel was new and fashionable. Vuitton invented a stackable square design with waterproof canvas material—the same LV canvas we lust for today on handbags.
That’s why the house of Louis Vuitton centuries later, enlisted innovators across industries to design trunks beyond dimensions, in honor of LV’s bicentennial birthday. On August 4, 1821, the founder of this namesake luxury brand, was born. We just so happen to share a birthday. I decided to celebrate my 26th to his 201th, by visiting Louis Vuitton’s 200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries: The Exhibition. Since the milestone of his bicentennial year in 2021, this exhibition, like trunks that are the bedrock of Vuitton’s empire, traveled. They journeyed from Vuitton’s residence in Asnières-sur-Seine France to Singapore. Its latest stop: a 22,000 square-foot, two-story edifice on Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive.
Sure, the endless picture-opportunities are a draw, or the chance to see original pieces from some of the most famous figures in pop culture today, like K-pop group BTS, Makeup artist, Pat McGrath, whose canvases are the faces of many A-list celebrities, or megastar actress Robin Wright. But some of my favorite renditions on display were very personalized definitions of defying the odds: Magician Dynamo, known for getting objects seemingly impossible, into a bottle, pushed a hot-red LV trunk, inside one. Pilot and inventor, Franky Zapata, designed an airborne piece of luggage that does not even need to be put on an airplane to fly. Theo Curin’s blue-green ombre trunk, represents the calm waters of an indoor pool going into an unpredictable, oceanic wave. Despite his fear of water, Curin overcame that personal wave, five years after having to amputate all four of his limbs, as a result of Meningitis. Curin not only swam, but thrived: becoming champion of that aquatic sport in the Paralympics, an accomplished model, and actor.
Normally it’s the contents in a trunk that are intimate, but these thoughtfully crafted pieces of luggage, have some soul-baring exteriors. With a simple scan of a QR code or striking up a conversation with one of the exhibition’s docents, you learn more about how these visionaries quite literally went outside-the-box with their contributions, so that in your daily life you too can unlock the visionary inside you. Life’s luggage doesn’t have to symbolize baggage. It can be a canvased Louis Vuitton: a symbol of opportunity, expanse, and travel.
Keeping it Krischic,