Again, I’m back with another of my travel stories–while I was in Seoul, I had the chance to visit the Louis Vuitton: Volez Voguez Voyagez Exhibit. The exhibit ran from the 8th of June up to the 27th of August in Dongdaemun Design Plaza (동대문디자인플라자 / DDP), and was completely free of charge.
While it is possible to just do a walk-in entry to the exhibit, since there isn’t any entry fee, depending on the time you arrive, you would have probably had to wait 15 minutes to an hour in line. However, the good thing about this exhibit was that it was possible to make a reservation for up to 4 people, but you had to be in the venue within the 30-minute time slot reserved for your group’s entry.
The exhibit itself is pretty extensive–from the family tree / lineage of Louis Vuitton himself, to the diverse collection of trunks and chests created for the first few customers of the luxury brand. Many of these trunks and chests belonged to affluent families, those who were well-off enough to afford such luxurious handmade trunks (similarly to how it is today).
Aside from the bags that Louis Vuitton is famous for today, the exhibit also showcased the multifunctional bags and trunks that they used to hand make and customize for their customers. Among these are the travel trunks, picnic suitcases, typewriter, and stationery sets.
The contemporary and more recent collaborations could also be found within the exhibit–such pieces from Louis Vuitton’s latest partnership with the skateboarding brand Supreme.
As with any exhibit, you (of course) are not allowed to touch any of the collection pieces, but we were fortunate enough that this exhibit allowed us to take pictures all around the exhibit.
Special Section (Exclusive to Seoul Exhibition)
In the Seoul leg of the exhibition, Louis Vuitton adds a special section dedicated to Korea–filled with various luggage and carrying cases, as well as special purpose bags.
Among the bags and suitcases in the room, the ones I found to be the most notable were the wedding suitcase and the figure skates case of Kim Yuna.
The wedding suitcase (also called the 함 or Ham) may look like your average Louis Vuitton suitcase or trunk, but it contains all of the items usually found in a traditional Korean wedding chest. The most recognizable of these items is the kireogi (기러기), or wooden Mandarin Duck / Wild Goose, which is a symbol of fidelity and harmony for the married couple. Other items are the the honseo (혼서) or marriage paper, the chaedan (채단) or the red and blue fabrics that will be used to make clothes. Other valuables may also be included, but this up to the discretion of the giver.In Korea, the Ham is a valuable item that is passed down to the bride from the groom’s family.
The second notable case in the room is a personal belonging–a figure skate trunk or carrier loaned to the exhibit by South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna (김연아). The trunk was made especially for South Korea’s figure skating queen to store her boots, and it has drawers to store her other skating peripherals such as ankle pads, props, and blade covers. A replica of this case was once sold for over 34 million KRW (around PHP 1.5 million). All the proceeds from the sale went to UNICEF.
Final Section: Live Leather Making Process
The last of the sections in the exhibit was the live leather making process by one of Louis Vuitton’s artisans. During the time that I visited the exhibit, they were making clochettes or the signature key holders that some of the Louis Vuitton bags come with. Among the processes that the artisan was doing that the time were the cutting and gluing of leather, which goes to show how the brand still sticks to the handmade process.
The Gift Shop!
Last but not the least, a trip to an exhibit wouldn’t be complete without passing by the gift shop at the end. As it is a luxury brand’s exhibit, I expected that all of the items in the gift shop would have outrageous price tags attached to them. However, I was surprised to find that the Louis Vuitton x Kakao Friends collaboration didn’t have price tags as crazy as I initially expected. The pack of stickers went for 19900KRW then the iron-on patches were around 39900KRW but it was still too expensive for me to buy for myself just a souvenir…no matter how much I liked Kakao Friends.
So, long story short, after some failed persuasion, the Apeach iron-on patch was gifted to me by a certain special someone! (If you follow me on Instagram you would know who hehe) THE BIG CATCH was that the prices that are posted next to the products were not the real prices of the items–these are member prices (aka exclusive to those with Louis Vuitton Korea membership) so instead of 39900KRW (around PHP2000), the patch was acutally 89900KRW (a whopping 4000 pesos).
I felt pretty terrible after but… what’s done is done and it’s waaay too late for us to swallow our pride at this point. Lesson learned!
Regardless of the big boo-boo at the end, we enjoyed the exhibit!