If you’re handbag-obsessed, there’s an important date you should know: 4 August 1821. That’s the day that Louis Vuitton’s namesake founder was born, in Anchay, in the French Jura. When he was just 13, Louis left his hometown and two years later, became an apprentice to Romain Marechal, a well-known trunk maker. In 1854, Louis Vuitton started his eponymous brand in the Place Vendome district, which was (and remains) home to the major fashion houses. The rest, as they say, is history.
Portrait of Louis Vuitton.
Now, Louis Vuitton the brand celebrates its founder’s 200th anniversary with a series of interesting initiatives. Kicking things off are its new mobile game as well as specially commissioned celebratory windows across its global store network.
Available for download from the App Store and Google Play, Louis: The Game features the cute Louis Vuitton floral mascot Vivienne making a journey towards a birthday celebration. Along the way, you can help Vivienne amass candles and keys, and unlock postcards with anecdotes relating to the brand and its founder. With the National Day long weekend coming up, it’s an entertaining enough way to spend some time.
Designed by Riot Games, the game also gives players the chance to collect 30 NFTs (non-fungible tokens), 10 of which were designed by digital artist Beeple. Beeple worked with Louis Vuitton to create digital prints for its Spring/Summer 2019 collection, and has held the record for most expensive NFT artwork ever sold since an NFT of his digital collage hammered for US$69.3m (S$93.6m) in March.
Unsurprisingly, the NFTs in the game are not for sale. As Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke told The Financial Times: “We don’t make any money out of it, so this is a non-commercial, almost pedagogical, educational experience that has to be fun, emotional and dynamic.”
In addition to the game, Louis Vuitton has also unveiled its celebratory store windows, conceptualised by 200 notable names across disciplines. They include architects Peter Marino and Sou Fujimoto, artists Stephen Sprouse and Alex Israel, designer Nigo, Paralympic swimmer Theo Curin, Lego and South Korean boy band and house ambassadors BTS.
The birthday celebrations will continue this year: In October, the brand will release a novel by French writer Caroline Bongrand, and this fictionalised account of the life of Louis will be available in French and English. A documentary about the man and his legacy will also be made available on streaming platforms. We hope that Covid restrictions here are relaxed soon, but well, if we still find ourselves largely housebound in a couple of months, we know that Louis Vuitton will help to keep us entertained for a bit.