Louis Vuitton’s Art Exhibit Will Blow Your Mind

Who needs Kanye, anyway? This is how a 160-year-old luxury fashion house stays relevant

Ever wonder what goes on in the mind of a fashion designer while working on a collection? Well, starting today you’ll get a chance to observe the inner machinations of Louis Vuitton‘s new-ish creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière. Louis Vuitton presents “Series 2: Past, Present, Future,” a multimedia art exhibit housed in a Hollywood warehouse and open (through February 22nd) to the public, free of charge. I went to the star-studded preview last night with a co-worker and we spied LV spokeswoman Michelle Williams, LV campaign models Catherine Deneuve and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and other gorgeous women like Rosamund Pike and a raven-haired Emilia Clarke.

The exhibit is trippy—like Alice in Wonderland meets 2001 Space Odyssey. You enter into a small dark space. The walls are black, the carpet is red (naturally) and a seemingly infinite giant neon LV logo looms before you. You soon discover that it’s the OG logo, “LV” in a circle, which was officially patented in 1908. It is a detail Ghesquière “plucked” from the archive and incorporated into his spring/summer 2015 accessories collection. It’s not easy, I imagine, as a designer, to walk that fine line between staying true to a brand’s established roots and keeping it current. This is the crux of the exhibit—Ghesquière’s internal dialogue: What I can borrow or reinterpret from the past? What can I bring to the label now? What do I see for its future? It’s all there in the exhibit’s title (past, present, future), but what’s cool is watching Ghesquière’s internal conversations translated to hologram video projections. A classic LV steamer trunk—the piece that started it all— is suspended in mid-air, floating like a magicians assistant while it undergoes a 3D metamorphosis before your eyes as lasers and neon lights flash. And then there’s the giant hologram hall where you’ll be dwarfed by giant models, then hold the moon in your hand. The blindingly-white room called the “Accessories Gallery”  is straight out of 2001. Here Marte Mei van Haaster’s 3-D printed,  life-size figures populate the traditional art gallery-like space showing off accessories from the current collection. You can get lost inside Ghesquière’s mood board—the “Poster Room,” which is covered, floor to ceiling, in photographs by Bruce Weber, Annie Leibovitz. There are seven rooms in total, the last offers a look behind-the-scenes at a runway show. The backstage of LV’s spring/summer presentation is recreated in a full scale installation…It’s definitely worth a visit (or two), even if you’re not into fashion. It’s an experience.

Louis Vuitton “Series 2: Past, Present, Future,” 1135 North Highland Ave., open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.