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A Louvre story

Priya Kumari Rana 

husband-wife photographer duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin talk to Priya Kumari Rana about making the first-ever

On November 12, French luxury maison Louis Vuitton aired its first-ever ready-to-wear television campaign. L’invitation au voyage, directed and shot by husband-wife photographer duo and Vinoodh Matadin, is a one-minute film shot in and around the Louvre in Paris; there is also a series of six images. The choice of the Louvre is a nod to Empress Eugénie of France, who had appointed Vuitton as her official packer, and whose crown lies today in the museum.

The short film, starring Texan supermodel Arizona Muse, and set to music by John Murphy, depicts a mysterious woman carrying the iconic Speedy Bandoulière 25 Monogram Empreinte bag with a key around her neck (Louis Vuitton will make 1,000 limited-edition necklaces in a Monogram Idylle version), who enters the museum. She passes the works of Italian masters and the Mona Lisa, followed by a handsome stranger. As she reaches a large trunk (again, made by the maison), she unlocks it with her key, takes a secret envelope from inside, and escapes in a waiting hot-air balloon, over the Cour Carrée, above the cityscape of Paris. The French luxury-maker pays homage to the spirit of travel, even as it launches its classic Speedy Bandoulière bags (first created in 1926) in Monogram Empreinte leather in five colours.


What is the concept of the film and the photo series?
It’s an invitation to a mysterious journey around the world marked by stopovers and adventures. The heroine finds the secret of her journey in the Louis Vuitton trunk.

Why is she wearing a key around her neck?
The key is a symbolic object. It opens and closes: it opens the pathways of knowledge, initiation, mystery, and curiosity. It therefore symbolises the beginning of this young woman’s quest.

What does the flight of this hot-air balloon over the Louvre mean to you?

A sublime encounter between cinematographic, creative imagination and Paris’s cultural heritage.

In what way did the Louvre inspire you?
The colours and light of the room devoted to the Italian masters suggested to us the palette of tones for the film and photos. And this European cultural heritage creates a link between fashion and culture.

How would you describe the Louis Vuitton woman?
She is stylish, classic and relaxed. She is also bold, and extremely elegant.

What is her next destination?
We will find her where the hot-air balloon has landed…

First Published: Sat, November 17 2012. 00:30 IST