Vuitton Family, 1888
When Louis Vuitton founded his maroquinerie label in 1854 on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris he knew how to make a good travelling case. This is proven in durability and by the fact that most of the cases, even the earliest examples, still stand the test of time. And, just as well, the ethos of handmade luxury, that has slowly faded into a seemingly prehistoric notion, has lasted too–leaving the Vuitton unprecedented in the integrity of its craft–even through corporate mastication, mergers, and a platform in the publicly traded market. The Louis Vuitton label has had its own history in China too–in an age when the orient was a universe away from its Parisian base. In 1931 the Croisiere Jaune expedition led 40 men to drive 12,000 km from the Mediterranean coast to the China coast, following the footsteps of Marco Polo, was outfitted with Louis Vuitton trunks. And even further back to the 1907 Paris to Peking expedition when members struggled against temperatures as low as -30 degrees in cars outfitted with Louis Vuitton trunks. On view now until August 31 at the National Museum of China in Beijing, "Louis Vuitton Voyages" explores its own history and tradition since its inception as well as celebrates the label's place in Chinese culture.