200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries: A world of inspiration from Louis Vuitton

Date: 10/20/2022

This immaculate creative collection celebrates the 200th birthday of iconic brand founder and designer, Monsignor Louis Vuitton–with the collection to be auctioned for charity in 2023!

If you love art, fashion, and culture, then I have a must-see event for you! It is currently being showcased in nyc at old Barney’s location.

I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries exhibition, a tribute to the creativity and design inspiration of Monsignor Louis Vuitton.

What is 200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries?

Guided by the theme of Louis Vuitton’s early 1850s luggage design, the
200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries showcase originally called upon a series of 200 artists and non-artists to design luggage-sized representations of their own force of inspiration.  

First unveiled at Vuitton’s historic residence in France, and followed by exhibitions in Singapore, Los Angeles, and now New York, the exhibition’s one parameter – the 50 x 50 x 100 cm size constraint – is said to have been transformed through the dreams, desires, abstract concepts, and artistic expressions of 200 visionaries into unique works of collectable art.

So says Faye McLeod, LV’s Visual Image Director

“This project has always been about creativity – a real tribute to Louis’ ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. We get to see how such a cross-section of talents answered the same brief while also taking a moment to appreciate the man himself.” 

She continues: “From there, the idea progressed to collaborate with 200 visionaries who would design their own trunk– a vast, visual tribute to creativity and to the man behind the Maison.”

It was hard to imagine what the other showcases must have looked like, for the whole exhibition in Beverly Hills felt it was made for the place. I noticed the original LV trunk motif with orange and white striped designs was replicated on the outside of the building as we drove up, and thanks to the ‘Magic Box’ piece featured in the collection, it was possible to see the imagined past and future of the 168-year old building. 

From what I’ve read, the entire project was intended to be a “fully philanthropic undertaking”. So far the project has raised over $2M euros for charities that focus on uplifting young people with their creative endeavors. The Vuitton team curating the event have also said the whole collection is set to be auctioned off for charity in 2023, following its final showcase in New York through the end of december..

Seriously, with all the goodness this project is bringing, I’m even more eager you should go! But until you do, here’s a little more about my personal experience at the arts and culture event of the season. 

Witnessing the Strength of Visionary Creativity

Hearing about the exhibition and witnessing the show in person are two very different things. Often it felt the collection of people in attendance was just as colorful as the trunks we witnessed–part of the many pleasures my mother and I experienced when we went together. 

Not just the boxes, but the list of visionaries was truly impressive to witness, and included names that were both familiar and unfamiliar to me. I recognized designs from Lego, Frank Gehry, and Liu Wei, and saw new and exciting work from under-the-radar visionaries like that of Robert Moy’s Brooklyn Balloon Company and Peter Marino

Eye-popping is actually word I would use to describe the different colors, inspirations, and montages we got to see everywhere we looked; by the time it was over I swear was seeing all colors of stars.

As distracted as we were by the colors and excitement though, Mom and I still managed to absorb as much as we could from our guide about each piece in the collection. And while the first room had more of a warehouse feel to it, some of the other rooms were like walking into a story book–like the balloon room I mentioned, and how it was almost entirely engulfed by balloons itself, like a dream!

My Top 5 Favorite Trunks from LV200

What were my favorite trunks from the exhibition? Here are my top 5 favorites…though it was really hard to narrow them down!

  1. Derek Blasberg’s Dog Trunk. I love my dog, and it’s clear this designer loves theirs too! It was so exciting to witness this kind of love in action, and to see how Blasberg would have his pooch enjoy a lifestyle of luxury in a luggage-like home. If I remember the tour guide correctly, this trunk is set to start at about $6M at auction—so  I can only imagine the entire event will net a ton for a great cause!
  2. Robert Moy’s Brooklyn Balloon Company Trunk. Viewing this piece was a totally transformational experience! I had no idea someone could make such incredible works of art out of actual balloons. The kid in me certainly felt excited to witness this trunk, and the room it was housed in, was itself covered in life-size balloons! 
  3. Theo Curin, Wave Trunk. This was an inspiring trunk that really stayed with me, not just for its story, but for its calm and attractive design. Curin used his experiences losing four limbs to meningitis, and then his work towards becoming a paralympian to create this unforgettable work of ‘luggage’ art. 
  4. Ben Ditto’s Infectious Waste Trunk. A plastic-wrapped trunk marked with a label that says “infectious waste”, this trunk is covered in actual blood! The embossed LV logo is deteriorating, and continues to do so thanks to live bacteria living under the plastic. Given the past few years, I would say this trunk was one of the more vocal commentaries I saw throughout the exhibition. 
  5. Benji B’s Music Trunk. Fitted to look like an exact replica of the 1850 LV trunk, this trunk opens to feature a working juke box! I loved the nostalgic feeling the whole piece gave off, which I guess was the artist’s intent: he says he wanted to create a piece that makes us ask: is this real? Did they actually make these?

I’m so eager to watch this project take off even further as each piece goes to auction for a great cause. 

In the meantime, if you go, make sure to let me know which trunks are your favorite so we can compare! I would love to hear which ones inspired you the most, or which one you plan to purchase at auction! 

Until then, and as always, I’m sending all of the creativity I gained from this refreshing, colorful experience.