MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The heart of luxury: Louis Vuitton

By Tiffanie Boggs, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, USA

In just three short months at ESSEC, our class has already acquired so much knowledge about the luxury industry and one of the sources of the greatest learning has come from visits with leading luxury houses. One of my most anticipated visits was to La Maison de Louis Vuitton, located in the charming town of Asnières-sur-Seine. Louis Vuitton himself built this house in the 19th century so he and his family could be located closer to his workshop. This workshop was the first built by Louis Vuitton in 1859, and today is still making all of the “rare and exceptional” products from the Leather Goods collections and special orders.  

Our visit started with tea, croissants, and pain au chocolats and we learned about the history of the House. We were then given a tour of La Galerie, a 6,500 square-foot exhibition space that displays the special treasures and secrets that have shaped the historical journey of Louis Vuitton. We were each provided with a Samsung Galaxy that was loaded with a specifically designed app that added a digital element to the tour, by not only providing additional information about the exhibits, but also allowing us to transport ourselves back in time. The app allows the smartphone to communicate with the various exhibits using beacon and camera image detection technology and triggers different digital content that links the present to the past. For example, when in the courtyard of the House, we simply needed to point the camera at a wall to display a three-dimensional picture, which allowed us to see what the house looked like in the 19th century. 

La Galerie was curated by Judith Clark, who sifted through the House’s archive of 26,000 objects and 165,000 documents to select 400 items that gives great insight into the rich history of Louis Vuitton. I loved how the objects were displayed and organized on modular wooden planks with wheels, a layout inspired by Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s “Le Pateki” puzzle game.  The ground floor of the exhibition houses a selection of trunks and toiletry kits, showing how Louis Vuitton has played with new shapes of travel over the years. The first floor of the exhibition is more dedicated to fashion, displaying designs from the brand’s past and present Creative Directors, as well as examples of the brand’s numerous collaborations with artists.

It was an amazing opportunity to be given the privilege to enter La Maison de Louis Vuitton and to receive a private tour of La Galeire. Our class was impressed by the beautiful displays of Louis Vuitton’s heritage and savoir-faire and extremely thankful for the warm welcome we received.