Jul 26, 2013

Art of Writing at Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton opened the doors of its first Cabinet d'Ecriture in the Saint-Germain District of Paris and started a new journey into the world of writing. We had the opportunity to visit the pop-up store in the historic area during last winter's Paris Men's Fashion Week.

Generally speaking the entirety of Paris is historic but Saint Germain des Prés particularly boasts an impressive cultured society, with a respectable line-up of writers and artists such as Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, F.Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway being associated with the area. Additionally the fact that the salon is located a mere stone's throw away from the mythic Café de Flore and Café Les Deux Magots proves LV's brilliant decision to make valued heritage as a wow factor to lure existing LV aficionados AND potentially new customers who are culturally savvy to get acquainted with the array of luxury stationery items on offer. Even though the digital era has possibly pervaded today's society there is still a niche market for lovers of hand-written letters and calligraphy who might rejoice with LV's latest offerings...

The venue was filled with writerly offerings such as stationery, ink pens (alongside an ink bar), and valuable scholarly relics from the collection of Gaston Louis-Vuitton. We're not too familiar with the world of stationery but we were astonished, no less, when the lovely guide from LV introduced us to a myriad of writerly items. From collector pens to crystal ink wells, delectably thin writing paper, leather pen cases, box sets and an impressive range of colorful inks, the art of handwriting is the center of attention in a nod to Louis Vuitton's first luxe pen collection back in 1980.

“The family has always been very involved with writing as well as travel, especially Gaston Louis-Vuitton,” explains LV's Cabinet d’Écriture tour guide. “You can see that in some of the instruments and special cases we have created for customers.”

A 17th century fountain pen, from the collection of
Gaston Louis-Vuitton

A set of ageing but nonetheless lovely cases from Louis Vuitton collection.

The pens, for example, are emblematic of Louis Vuitton, with a subtle brown Damier pattern for the best lacquered cases; a black version to denote gravitas for business types; and crocodile skin simply because you can.

One of the other interesting feature is the range of paper, which denotes familiarity and social convention. “A paper’s colour denotes the closeness of a person to the sender. For instance, white was formal and sent to someone you didn’t know. Cream was to someone you knew well,” our guide describes. The large bulbs of custom-made Italian ink lining a cabinet, available in a kaleidoscopic range of colours also have similar function in portraying a person - green is considered optimist, while grey is deemed romantic.

At the end of our tour we were given the chance to try our hands on LV's fountain pen. As I dabbled in the world of calligraphy I could not help but think that it's quite a cruel world for lefties out there, as I inadvertently and inevitably smudged the ink on the guestbook...

photo credit: @malaychic instagram

Credit: directed by Romain Chassaing, music by Birkii, produced by Des Quatre/ Mathias Vayer

Words and images by Hafidzudin Zainal

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