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  • Louis Vuitton’s “La Galerie” museum in Paris. Photo by Dominique Maitre.

  • Louis Vuitton’s “La Galerie” museum in Paris. Photo by Dominique Maitre.

  • Louis Vuitton’s “La Galerie” museum in Paris. Photo by Dominique Maitre.

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Louis Vuitton inaugurates “La Galerie” museum in Paris

Just some months after the opening of the Louis Vuitton Foundation in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, the brand inaugurated some days ago in Asnières-sur-Seine a second private museum, named “La Galerie”. The new museum is much more warm and familiar than the 126,000-square-foot Frank Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton Foundation, while its location bears a huge symbolic meaning. La Galerie it is sited near Louis Vuitton’s former 19th-century family home and the brand’s first ever workshops, where Louis Vuitton still manufactures its made-to-order items, in an attempt to connect visitors directly with the rich heritage of la maison. The new museum spans over 6,500 square feet in two floors, hosting more than 400 items carefully selected from the 26,000 objects and 165,000 documents that comprise the house’s extensive archive.

Curated by professor of fashion and museology at the London College of Fashion Judith Clark, who has supervised in the past shows about brands like Chloé and iconic personalities such as Frida Kahlo and Diana Vreeland, La Galerie is divided into 16 thematic sections that tell the story of the house in a unique and original way: “The Monogram” and “Personal Initials” explore how the brand’s logo was born, with a special section dedicated to Vuitton’s “Mon Monogram” customization platform; “Stories and Clients” features items belonging to famous film stars, princesses and fashion designers, as well as anonymous clients; “La Possibilité de l’aventure” highlights the 1930’s collaboration between Vuitton and Citroën; “L’Avant-garde” explores Vuitton’s participation in the first ever Arts Décoratifs exhibition in 1925; while “The Art of Couture” pays homage to Vuitton’s collaborations with couturiers like Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld.

La Galerie also features numerous ensembles from the brand’s womenswear and menswear designers all over the years, among them Marc Jacobs, Kim Jones and Nicolas Ghesquière; historic pieces like a Paul Poiret’s trunk, a 1930’s Keepall bag and a Pateki wooden cube puzzle that belonged to Gaston Louis Vuitton, or a pair of 17th-century Venetian women’s platform shoes from Vuitton’s family personal collection; a series of vintage pieces by Jeanne Lanvin, Christian Dior and Madeleine Vionnet that are used in order to put Vuitton’s trunks, suitcases and bags into a cultural and chronological context; and last, but not least, a series of unique items that were made in collaboration with world-famous artists like Yayoi Kusama, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and Daniel Buren.

We wanted it to be perceived very much as a gallery intervention. It’s like an installation reflecting on the idea of exhibiting the Vuitton archive. It’s intended to be kind of slightly disruptive in that way,” Judith Clark recently told WWD. “One of the motivations for having something a little bit more permanent and a little bit more complete here was the fact that people come to this site, come to the maison de famille, see the atelier, and they kind of fall in love with the idea that this is the cradle of the company,” she concluded. La Galerie will only be open during weekends at Louis Vuitton’s atelier in Asnières-sur-Seine, Paris.