See This: Foundation Louis Vuitton Museum Now Open in Paris
The Frank Gehry-designed space is a must-see for fashion and art lovers alike
PARIS -- It's the house that Louis Vuitton built and Frank Gehry designed. Envisioned as an immense glass cloud floating over the Bois de Boulogne gardens on the outskirts of the city, the new Foundation Louis Vuitton museum is Paris new art and architecture gem.
Already feted by fashion's most famous — Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, Dior’s Raf Simons and Kris Van Assche, Chloe’s Phoebe Philo, and Vuitton's Nicolas Ghesquiere joined French President Francois Hollande at a private champagne celebration last week — the museum officially opened Monday.
It had already been home to one of the hottest tickets in town, with Ghesquiere's strict guest list making it one of the hardest seats in the city during fashion week earlier this month. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Williams and Selena Gomez were among the few who made the cut.
The museum is also the jewel in the crown for LVMH chair Bernard Arnault, who worked for years to make the museum a reality and commissioned Gehry. It's designed in the same sweeping contemporary style of Los Angeles’ downtown Disney Hall and Spain’s Guggenheim Bilbao.
The L.A.-based architect is having a French moment — he’s the inaugural exhibit at Foundation Louis Vuitton and is also the subject of a career retrospective at the Paris’ Pompidou museum in the center of the city.
Gawkers and shoppers will still have to flock to the brand's flagship store on the Champs Elysees to see the latest collections and artistic window displays, since the museum will focus on modern and contemporary art.
Works form Mark Rothko, Yves Klein and Jean-Michel Basquiat will sit alongside Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons in the permanent collection, as well as Takashi Murakami – who famously collaborated with former Louis Vuitton designer Marc Jacobs on the handbag that simultaneously defaced and changed the face of luxury forever.
The permanent collection will cover pop art, expressionism and music sound with new exhibits from Mona Hatoum, Ellsworth Kelly, Bertrand Lavier and Olafur Eliasson rolling out over the next year in the massive museum’s 11 separate galleries. It’s not just paintings that will be on show – German electronic pop group Kraftwerk will open the music season with a concert in November and the café will serve its own works of art from two-starred chef Jean-Louis Nomicos.
Of course, there’s still fashion. The museum will house future Louis Vuitton fashion shows, but the main auditorium and show space, which can be hidden beneath moving floor panels, only seats 350 very lucky guests.