Turning Back Time

There’s something quite sacred about the word exhibit, other than its regular appearance on legal drama [key in monotone reference to court evidence], but moreover two things: time and space.


The former being a natural consequence of the latter. And yet, you could imagine that the name “Time Capsule” is more or less an irony of Hong Kong in its present state - an exhibition title that resonates the constraints of the city, precisely that of time and space. Although open to the public over the span of three weeks and tucked away in the stress-free greens of Statute Square Gardens (this I jest, of course, since in reality the exhibition was only a stone’ throw away from the icy air-conditioned law firms and the big four), three weeks is enough and more when in comparison to the 5-day popular annual art fair Art Basel.


You could imagine what a treat it was for me to physically be back on home soil during their opening week. For time and time again, I have continuously spoke out about the lack of interaction between brands and the general public because so many retire their annual budget to optimise commercial results, reducing frontiers and drying out creativity to the bone. So in celebration of Le French May 25th Anniversary, I naturally waltzed into the capsule with no expectation, but all the excitement. And fortunately, left with big smiles. (smiles not pictured)


For a brand that is so rich in its history, it’s very easy to overlook a large chunk of its development and innovation. Even with the current ease of the internet, it’s impossible to replicate the experience of going through the archive of rare trunks and objects. Moreover, how would it be possible to comprehend any brand or maison without getting your hands dirty into the archives. 


In celebration of the silver Jubilee of Le French May, Hong Kong has been spoilt to be hand-picked as the first stop for the Time Capsule series, with its entrance manned by a French (and utmost genuine) artisan who demonstrated stitching and Savoir Faire of Louis Vuitton's Asnières-sur-Seine workshop, a 40-minute car journey from the heart of Paris. The exhibition then takes us through our favourites in multiple rooms, consisting of: ‘Transportation’, ‘Handbag Icons’ and the ‘Beauty of Fashion & Sophisticated Dandies’.


Established in 1854, Louis Vuitton has evolved from a luggage maker for stylish travel to later expanding to smaller leather goods after World War II. The first room introduced the classics: the Steamer Bag en toile de coton en cuir, designed to hold smaller items inside larger trunks and the Secretaire Bureau Stokowski en toile Monogram, a travelling briefcase. Then leading onto the second room, there displayed the icons, such as the Sac V Bucket en cuir collection Cruise (designed to hold champagne), the cylindrical Sac Papillon in Monogram Miroir and Monogram, and the Sac Alma. The adjacent connecting room sat the more recent works of Nicolas Ghesquiere’s Metallic Boîte Promenade Malletage GM Bag from his Fall/ Winter 2015 collection, Kim Jones’ redesigned maison ‘Cabas V’ logo, Christopher Nemeth Fall/ Winter 2015 collaboration, as well as the navy Lion Print Keepall recent SS17 Chapman Brothers wildlife collection. 


And if all of the above has not already satisfied one’s eyes or appetite, the room of ‘Beauty of Fashion & Sophisticated Dandies’ is sure to do so. By taking the meaning of ‘a way of life’ quite literally, see selected pieces of entertainment, including sets designed for Backgammon, Whisky, toiletries, jewellery and, a local favourite, the Mallette Mahjong. Nothing quite compares to the final room, which was visual escapism in its ultimate form, where a trunk, pinned in the centre, graphically replicated the maison timeline right from its origins: Damier Canvas, Monogram Canvas, Copper Trunk, Epi Leather, right to 2017 with the hyped Spring Summer 2017 collaboration with Supreme.

Words & Photography by Jocelyn  Yih