Reflecting elegance upfront, the Louis Vuitton standalone store on Khader Nawaz Khan Road proves why the French brand is an international icon

One of the world’s biggest cult brands made a discreet entry into the city. No flashbulbs, no fuss. No Bollywood A-listers, no Kollywood wanna-shines. The launch of the Louis Vuitton standalone store at Bergamo, the luxe mall on Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam, reflected upfront what the brand stands for — elegance.

Like its constantly evolving monogram canvas bags, the store too has been designed precisely to reflect the classic brand’s contemporary relevance. This season, the brand’s creative director Marc Jacobs works with celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and comes up with a line of accessories that combines the former’s fastidious sense of design and the latter’s signature style. “Beginning of the Universe,” the window installation, features huge biomorphic shapes (meant to be nerves) with repetitive red dots on a white background. This is not just typical of Kusama’s style; it also works as a teaser to what’s in store.

Displayed at the entrance of the well-integrated beige-brown space, this LV-Kusama collaboration line is spot-on when it comes to playful glamour. If you were pleasantly surprised by LV’s creative link with another famed artist Takashi Murakami a few seasons ago (think monogram multi-coloured canvas bags), this one is sure to shock you for its look-at-me red and yellow dots.

Going beyond this whimsical art-design rendezvous are the iconic bags from LV. Having survived several decades in the fad-driven fashion world with simple tweaks, Keepall, Speedy and Neverfull simply grab your attention for their classic styling and immaculate craftsmanship. A fixture with first class passengers on swish air routes, the Keepall has been reinterpreted several times to suit the changing needs of sophisticated travellers. Speedy, is for the upwardly-mobile urban woman who wants to carry everything she wants in a roomy, miniature bag. Known for its versatility, Neverfull allows you take all you want, plus your family’s needs, in a light-weight bag that changes shape by simply pulling the side-lace. Clutch, tote, top-handle, shoulder, cross body… the range is varied to suit different needs. The materials include the classic monogram, Damier Ebene, multi-coloured monogram canvases and the now-famous Vernis bags that come without the baggage of high maintenance.

The exotic evening bags and clutches section (made of rare hides) is tucked away in a corner that’s well-anointed with a settee for those who want to soak in the style before buying. There’s no Vuitton without the signature trunks and travel options. Beautiful charm bracelets, stoles, coin purses, belts, jewellery and card holders and rare pieces such as the LV poker set complete the picture.

Chennai is LV’s fifth destination in India. Whether you want to put a piece of Japanese art on your shoulder or simply revel in the iconic monogram that instantly places you in that finely calibrated rank of fashion elitism, the LV store is worth a visit.

THE DOTTED LINE

It’s like a stroboscopic game. Yayoi Kusama’s polka dots play with scale, form and colour to lure onlookers. The artist, who is surfing her eighties with trademark gusto, is fascinated by repetitive dot patterns which result in a hallucinatory proliferation that transports her to the realm of infinity. Inspired by Kusama’s dot com, LV takes polka to a new level with vibrant tones in its new line of accessories.

HISTORY IN A TRUNK

Travel is in the LV DNA. Louis Vuitton launched himself as a trunk maker in 1854, when his flat creations proved practical to the then swish traveller who found it difficult to move his/her round-topped trunks in trains or horse-drawn carriages. Over the years, the luggage maker had to update the brand’s image and diversify the product line in keeping with the demand of its uber chic clientele that included monarchs, counts and duchesses. In India too, LV had a strong connect with the royalties of Hyderabad, Mysore, Jammu & Kashmir and Baroda. Special trunks were designed for turbans, golf clubs, polo sticks and even horseshoes!

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Krithika ReddyMay 11, 2012