The first chapter to this exciting adventure with Louis Vuitton started with the opening of the Louis Vuitton Maison in Plaza 66, the first of its kind in mainland China and the sixteenth in the world. When we arrived we were greeted with the exceptional view of the towering new store, and this was just the outside. When we walked through its shiny new doors I quickly lost the girls amongst the sea of people eager to discover every inch of this exciting new store. Designed by architect Peter Marino, this Maison is divided into separate levels, each as luxurious as the next and beautifully reflecting the spirit of Louis Vuitton. Drawing inspiration from Shanghai itself, you can notice the cultural influences carefully placed around the store in the form of work by local Chinese artists. One to note is the outstanding steel sculpture 'Three Pools Mirroring the Moon' by Qui Zhijie sitting at the foot of the grand staircase, which is known as the heart of the store as it connects all of its public levels. Local and international celebrities like Alexa Chung, Clemence Posey and Poppy Delevigne were seen floating around the store and surprisingly blending in to the crowd, keeping to themselves and exploring the store like everyone else. It seemed that no matter who you were, where you were from or who you worked for, everyone was just as happy and excited as each other to be in Shanghai celebrating the 20th anniversary with the Louis Vuitton family. It was like one big lavish birthday party, only you're surrounded by luxurious leather goods, beautiful models and some of the world's biggest media. It's times like this you need a clone of yourself to record the experience so you can lock the memories away to keep forever.
After the store opening we stopped by the Louis Vuitton Exhibition, a special exhibition staged opposite the new store in tribute to Louis Vuitton's heritage and to mark the opening of the new Maison. Mirrored walls and lighted flooring were used to create the impression of infinite space, and it was like a never ending room of some of Louis Vuitton's most treasured pieces including personal items owned by Gaston-Louis Vuitton himself. Some bags were over 120 years old!
We ended the night with a beautiful dinner at YongFoo Elite, where I got to properly meet the other bloggers on the trip - Alix from The Cherry Blossom Girl, Kristin from The Clothes Whisperer, Alexandra from 4th and Bleeker and Geraldine from Cafe Mode - and the Paris LV team who were our gracious hosts in Shanghai. Of course the venue was just as beautiful and cute as everything we had encountered so far. Louis Vuitton is exceptionally thoughtful like that and I would like to think they chose this place simply because they knew it would shoot well at night. Floating rice paper lanterns adorned the trees and after a few drinks we found ourselves shooting below them or relaxing in this day bed that apparently was not equipped to hold four bloggers. This was just a small taste of what was to follow with the LV AW/12/13 Fashion Show and incredibly fun after party!
Photos by me, Alexandra Spencer and Clemence, our lovely Parisian host.