10 things to look out for at the new Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme in Paris
No place like home
Of all the historic sites in Paris, 2 Place Vendôme is both one of the oldest and newest fashion houses of worship. If the address sounds familiar, that's because it was where the Louis Vuitton story began — in 1854, when a young Vuitton opened his first store. However, it's been around for much longer than that.
Designed and built by architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart as two classic townhouses in 1714 (the very man responsible for the spectacular Château of Versailles), the Hôtel Baudet de Morlet and Hôtel Heuzé de Vologer housed courtiers, nobles, aristocrats, the occasional princess and the future emperor Napoléon III, before their iconic structures suffered multiple renovations in the wrong hands.
Now, architect Peter Marino has reinstated much of its former glory (more on that in a bit). Beyond the facelift, 2 Place Vendôme also brings together Louis Vuitton's traditional métiers under one roof; the couture, ready-to-wear, jewellery, watches, leather goods, shoes, fragrances, accessories, and artisanal workshops are finally reunited.
Below, the highlights of one of the most storied Parisian squares you don't want to miss.
1. The gorgeous façade
Much work has been done to combine the hôtel particuliers without compromising their flair. Floors have been returned to their 18th-century grandeur; ceilings have been raised to their original heights — that's almost five metres on the first floor. Most impressive is the façade itself. Sensitively restored to include a soleil shield by the entrance, Louis Vuitton's new home is perhaps most stunning at night. See for yourself...
2. The extensive selection of womenswear and menswear
You'll find women’s ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories showcased in a bright, airy space with richly intricate Versailles parquet on the first floor; the men's leather goods and ready-to-wear including shoes, travel items and accessories are displayed on leather-lined shelving and herringbone parquet upstairs on the mezzanine.
3. The haute joaillerie atelier
Tucked away discreetly under the eaves, Louis Vuitton’s jewellers transform exceptional precious stones into the house’s most exclusive high jewellery.
4. Atelier Rare & Exceptionnel
... is where prestigious clients and celebrities are invited to discover remarkable jewellery pieces from the latest collections, where fittings and customisations by the atelier’s in-house artisans take place.
5. The special trunks
The Library Trunk — a style originally designed by Gaston-Louis Vuitton (1883-1970) for his personal use — is one of two historical trunks on display. The piece was ordered in 1933 by a celebrated journalist, playwright and Hollywood screenwriter, used to store books and a typewriter. The second piece is a Steamer Trunk from 1917. Its recent addition to the house’s archives is fitting; the original owner, one of Paris’ most admired and influential jewellers for decades, was based only a few doors away at for many years, at 16 Place Vendôme.
6. The artworks
Thirty-three artworks representing artists from six continents — including Laurent Grasso, Yan Pei Ming, Stephen Sprouse, Serge Alain Nitegeka and Paul Nabulumo Namarinjmak — hang proudly within the maison.
7. The second chapter with Jeff Koons
Louis Vuitton's dedication to contemporary art peaks with American artist Jeff Koons. Catch a preview of the New Yorker's second outing with the house at Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme (the collection drops in November), including an exclusive look at a new painting from his 'Gazing Ball' series based on a work by a French Old Master.
8. Object Nomades
For the first time, the collection of the designer travel and home objects are offered on a permanent basis in France. Only a small selection of Objets Nomades is available, but the curation will be refreshed every three months to give clients access to the full collection of 25 objects. The savoir-faire corner is also the maison's first permanent space providing year-round demonstrations of its traditional know-how.
9. The stairways
Very much integral in the design of the three-floor boutique, the stairs showcase high levels of contrast. The 18th century stoned walls are complemented with modern high-tech glass balustrades suspended by stainless steel cables.
10. The exclusive items
An exclusive version of the Capucines bag launched with the opening of the maison's new locale. This new version of the Louis Vuitton classic — named after Rue Neuve-des-Capucines, the maison's birthplace — is made with shaded metallic crocodile skin featuring a two-tone “V” clasp. Three high jewellery sets inspired by the most recent high jewellery collection, Conquêtes, were also specially designed to mark the occasion.
The Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme is located at 2 Place Vendôme.
Read our review of Nicolas Ghesquière's spring/summer 2018 collection for Louis Vuitton.