While surveying a certain major retail store in Philadelphia I was once led into a decrepit, abandoned, former employees bathroom, with moldy ceiling tiles and long-dried (but still grubby) toilets. Pretty disgusting. Unfortunately, the room was being used as backstock, absolutely packed, floor to ceiling and 10 deep, with $400 handbags. These same handbags were on the sales floor, in limited numbers, behind clean glass and on spotless lacquer shelves. While seeming pristine and rare to the consumer the dirty truth lay behind the curtain (or stall, as it were).
Which is to say luxury is often only appreciated when in the appropriate context, particularly for luxury brands that sit at entry level and are sometimes more dependent on ad campaigns than actual quality.
Not that I’m necessarily accusing Louis Vuitton of being less than superior in construction or craftsmanship (the brand does have quite a history, after all) or that I’m saying the new effort is the equivalent of a rotting restroom (which it clearly isn’t) but is this new effort from LV, situated in the Tokyo Underground, too self-conscious? I understand the new modesty of luxury and do like Vuitton’s effort at branching away from pure opulence (their forays into a less posh luxury have been pretty nice), but I worry this concept devalues the brand. I don’t see luxury here at all. I know it’s just a brief one-off temp store, and can see the irony, but for their sake I wouldn’t make this a moveable feast. Minimalism through utilitarian materials is one thing, ironic-slumming is one thing, but a shipping hangar may not be the best inspiration.
From Blabber, Etcetera via PSFK