From being the ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, Wuhan now has — for the most part — recovered. Some even claim that it's "mostly back to normal" in Hubei's capital where people are dancing in clubs maskless; it had also welcomed local tourists during a recent public holiday. Just a few days ago, a huge crowd gathered to watch Wuhan's Halloween parade featuring zombie nurses. Cementing the city's recovery arc, luxury giant Louis Vuitton has launched its travelling exhibition this year in Wuhan, calling the city "one of China's important cities". Curious about what it looks like? Read on.
What the exhibition is all about
Louis Vuitton exhibitions have always been a big deal. Last year, their immersive instalment in Los Angeles attracted numerous celebrities, from social media influencers like Emma Chamberlain to television stars such as Millie Bobby Brown. This one in Wuhan is no different; it was also visited by notable personalities including Enru Lin and Zhu Yilong.
While the exhibit in Los Angeles featured the most exciting collaborations Louis Vuitton has had with artists, this year it's all about showcasing the history of the maison's bags — from the signature Louis Vuitton Steamer Trunk to the modern handbags like the Neverfull. Titled See LV, the exhibition treated guests to an "immersive experience" featuring Louis Vuitton's history dating back to its creation in 1854. In one of the sections is a wall full of handbags released over the decades.
Another area, which looks like an actual runway with mannequins parading the looks, showcases clothing designs. And finally, there's the impressive artistic recreation of a young Louis Vuitton with a pensive expression. After enjoying the Louis Vuitton exhibit in Wuhan, guests can take a photo at an Instagrammable digital wall.
This exhibit is currently housed at Wuhan International Plaza in Jianghan District and is open until 6 December to the public free of charge.
The decision to launch the Louis Vuitton global exhibition in the former COVID-19 epicentre is bold. It also had many people asking the question: Out of all the cities in the world, why Wuhan? If you ask Louis Vuitton it's because Hubei's capital is an important Chinese city and "rich in cultural and historical heritage". But not all are convinced that it's just simple as that. For Casey Hall of Business of Fashion, the "real reason" Louis Vuitton made the move is "more than just goodwill and guanxi (good connections)" but also very much economically driven as one would expect from a for-profit company. And if you consider the significant recovery Wuhan has made within the last few months, you're probably gonna be inclined to agree.
The still-wealthy local population, now deprived of their usual shopping splurges during travel abroad ala Crazy Rich Asians' Astrid Leong, is a ripe market for luxury. There's actually a term coined for this phenomena and it's "revenge shopping", where well-to-do consumers who have held back during the lockdown has doubled-down on their credit card swiping.
Could the same soon happen in our region after recovery? Very likely. However, all we can do is wait and see. For now, we're curious where Louis Vuitton will take their global exhibition next. We're hoping it's somewhere close to home!
(Cover photo from: Anne R via Pexels)