First Class
B HIVE - Bianca Salonga () - November 4, 2007 - 12:00am

Inarguably, travel is one of the greatest luxuries. The idea of flying out, taking a cruise or a leisurely ride to visit a different city, country or exotic destination promises a variety of possibilities. As with most trips, there lies the promise of a breathtaking view — that of pristine oceans and shores, divine mountain ridges and ranges, thriving and dynamic cosmopolitan landscapes. Similarly, one who is on a journey finds joy in experiencing, first hand, no less, the life, culture and rich history of a certain destination. Some may want to go around to visit historical landmarks. These days, however, such monumental places have become tourist traps of some sort. In any case, it is always good to learn about a country’s history and background to better understand its present state. Then, of course, there are others who find greater amusement and deep understanding of a place by immersing themselves through interacting with its people. Shopping, it is worth noting, has become one great way to interact. After all, what better means to acquaint yourself with a group of people than through hours of walking around markets amid shoppers and merchants to haggle for good prices or in search for that precious find. Whether one is crossing the Atlantic, taking a short drive up North or heading to a nearby region, travel continues to be one of the most enriching human experiences.

In past seasons, fashion’s forefront has witnessed how luxury brand Louis Vuitton, under the creative direction of Marc Jacobs, has reinforced itself as the instigator of style, sophistication and innovation. Many a fashion ally, season after season, looks to the freshest offerings from the trunks of Louis Vuitton as it consistently dictates the latest trends. This year, however, the label is refocusing its efforts at enforcing travel as its fundamental and definitive value. Art du voyage, a concept that was pioneered by the leading luxury brand is driven by the notion of traveling in complete comfort, convenience and opulence. Known for over 150 years now for having produced luggage with the famed LV monograms imprinted on its lush leathers, fit for no less than royalty and other members of nobility, Louis Vuitton collaborates with outstanding individuals to put together the Core Values campaign. 

In three very striking photographs by renowned portraiture lenswoman Annie Leibovitz, the campaign aims to capture, quite exquisitely, we might add, the emotional and spiritual experience brought about by life’s most extraordinary journeys. International statesman Mikhail Gorbachev, in one image is pensive as he takes a car ride back from a conference in Berlin, a leather duffel bag by Louis Vuitton by his side. In yet another arresting picture sits a stunning Catherine Deneuve on two Louis Vuitton trunks as she waits during a film shooting in Paris. A moving picture of sweethearts and Wimbledon heroes Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in the New York hotel suite makes one want to take a moment to appreciate the more simple — even mundane — moments in life. Four very different people of great stature in their respective fields who have gone through very different, fascinating moments for the world to witness and take part of. And yet, they share one thing in common: great journeys.

The Core Values campaign, as it zeroes in on the personal aspect of travel through the lives of these extraordinary individuals, is beautifully robbed of deliberate, calculated poses. There are no special effects; no post-production work most commonly applied to many of today’s marketing and advertising collateral. Instead, it astounds because of its sincerity. It captivates because it evokes real emotion. Each photograph, raw and authentic in every essence, is a genuine reflection of the human experience that is travel. More than five-star hotels, romantic cities and private planes, Louis Vuitton teaches us that to journey first class is, above everything else, to lead a life that is truly amazing and meaningful.

 (Louis Vuitton is located at Greenbelt 4, Ayala Center, Makati City.)    

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