Louis Vuitton’s SS21 show will re-open this iconic department store

Having been shuttered for over a decade, the LVMH-owned location has had a stunning reinvention.

by Douglas Greenwood
28 September 2020, 10:59am

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

With IRL fashion shows going full steam ahead for SS21 in Europe, Louis Vuitton have announced their latest location for their womenswear show at Paris Fashion Week next month. Having traditionally staged past affairs in the setting of the Louvre, the LVMH-helmed brand are switching it up for the season. On 6 October, the show will be held on the glass-domed upper floors of La Samaritaine, a former department store that LVMH have been rebuilding since it shuttered in 2005.

Though final touches to the project are still being applied, this will be our first proper look inside the venue for 15 years before it fully reopens to include the original retail space, as well as a luxury hotel, offices, low-income housing, restaurants and a day-care centre. The gigantic space occupies an entire block on Rue de la Monnaie, right in between the Louvre and Notre Dame.

There is expected to be two shows, each with 200 guests in attendance to adhere to social distancing regulations, though a live stream is expected to reach millions more. Those lucky enough to attend the show IRL will be treated to panoramic views across the city of Paris from the glass-domed roof as the garments are paraded past them, but those tuning in remotely will be treated to a different experience, with green screens transforming the set-up. The front row cohort will also be provided with unspecified devices to interact with the show. A representative at Louis Vuitton told Women’s Wear Daily that “Nicolas’ goal is to create a connection with the guests. It is a fashion show that has been designed for digital, but based on a live experience”.

Louis Vuitton’s CEO, Michael Burke has called it “a one-off, bespoke experience”. The La Samaritaine building, a historical architectural gem in Paris, will be recreated respectfully for a new generation, calling that dichotomy “a play on time”, in keeping with the theme of this year’s delayed exhibition at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Delayed from May (yep, we miss the Met Gala too), “About Time: Fashion and Duration” will now open on 29 October.

For those eager to see how the dots can be joined between said exhibition and the latest offering of Nicolas Ghesquière, you can tune in digitally on 6 October to the Louis Vuitton website to see the new collection. La Samaritaine will open to the public in early 2021.

Louis Vuitton