While the 160-year-old fashion house Louis Vuitton has seen its fair share of change over the years (most recently, the departure of Marc Jacobs and induction of Nicolas Ghesquière as creative director), it seems to be harking back to its roots as a luxury travel brand in its new ad campaign. Reprising a tag line from Jean Larivière’s historic campaigns for the fashion house, Vuitton’s “Spirit of Travel” features models-of-the-moment Karen Elson and Edie Campbell and was shot on location in South Africa by Peter Lindbergh.
Vuitton has always leaned toward luxury travel with most of its large-scale campaigns in the past, but there has always been a sort of filter that deems the campaign fantasy-like, whether because of the clothes the models wear or location they are set against. The “Spirit of Travel” campaign, however, seems to find its footing in its realism. According to Vuitton’s communications and events director, Frédéric Winckler, the campaign is “a mix of travel and the fashion world,” which explains why even though the models are wearing pieces from the latest resort and spring runways, they are styled in a way that makes them look appropriate for their surroundings–thanks to the ever-impressive work of Carine Roitfeld.
What’s more is that Elson and Campbell are feeding giraffes, riding zebras and strolling down dirt roads with lion cubs wearing these clothes, interactions that Winckler noted were 100% real and not manipulated digitally. Now, would someone really wear a feather-shouldered, barely-there frock on an African safari? Maybe not, but it’s clear that Vuitton is trying to bridge the gap between back-of-the-closet luxury and the every day outfit. Vuitton doesn’t just want you to wear its clothing, it wants you to experience adventure in it, even if it means getting a little down and dirty.
Look for the full campaign in April issues.