S/ Was There: Louis Vuitton Flagship Unveiling in Vancouver

After nearly a year of renovations, the Louis Vuitton flagship store in the landmark 1939 Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was unveiled with a festive cocktail soirée. The Burrard at Alberni Street location originally opened in 2010, and is now flanked by flagships for other luxury brands in what has become the premier luxury shopping intersection in the city.

The expanded footprint accommodates the entire men’s and women’s Louis Vuitton universe, spanning from purses and luggage to perfume, footwear, watches, jewellery, ready-to-wear, eveningwear, the “Objets Nomade” home collection, and a brand new blue-and-white ceramic tabletop range. The product mix is tailored specifically to Vancouver, and includes a wide selection of sportswear, including men’s and women’s skiwear collections, along with ski hardware and accessories.

The completely transformed store adds a second level, accessed by a spectacular circular staircase made of wood and leather­—a signature architectural feature of Louis Vuitton stores globally. Also new is a glamourous private shopping suite at the rear of the main floor, which features a curvilinear painting commissioned from Italian artist Isadora Caprero, an amber-hued resin coffee table by French artist and sculptor Helène de Saint Lager, and a chandelier by Henri Burszlyn.

The company’s art-focused ethos is also evidenced by the Canadian art commissions for the store, including a striped painting by young indigenous artist Scott Sueme, who grew up in Vancouver’s graffiti and skateboarding scene, displayed in the shoe department. Montreal-based artist Heidi Spector also created a colourful striped art piece for the store. All of the art is purposefully bright and expressive, a compliment to the natural beauty of Vancouver says Louis Vuitton.

In addition to its existing complementary perfume bottle engraving and hot-stamping services, the store will now house a Paris-trained artisan on the second level to customize any hard-sided piece from the purse and luggage collection with hand painting. Travel stamps are commonly painted on to luggage, but it can be embellished any image. Also customizable is an innovative large-scale Marcel Wanders woven leather Diamond Screen, to be used as a room divider, that is part of the Objets Nomade collection, and an eye-catching green sofa called Bombaco (which means candy in Portuguese) by Brazil’s Studio Campana, who also designed a floating cocoon chair.

A Lunar New Year capsule collection is available to coincide with celebrations in February to welcome the Year of the Dragon. This coming July, the recently unveiled collection of 11 Capucine handbags from long-time Louis Vuitton collaborator Canadian architect Frank Gehry will land in the store. The highly collectible, limited-edition designs include whimsical elements such as a Floating Fish bag, a crocodile-shaped handle and a “Bear With Us” clutch, all referencing Gehry buildings and sculptures. In addition to designing the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, widely lauded as one of the finest examples of 21st-century architecture, the 94-year-old Gehry also designed a range of perfumes in 2021 called Les Extraits, with Murano glass stoppers that are currently featured in the store’s perfume section. He has explained his collaborations with Louis Vuitton as a desire to bring “architectural language” to the worlds of fashion and beauty.