Case Closed: Kremlin Sends Louis Vuitton Packing Off Red Square

MOSCOW, November 27 (RIA Novosti) – Demands for a giant Louis Vuitton suitcase-shaped pavilion to be removed from Red Square swelled to the highest level of government on Wednesday as the presidential administration demanded that the trunk be immediately taken away.

A Kremlin source told journalists that the presidential administration had not agreed to the pavilion’s construction. 

Moscow’s landmark GUM department store said it has also asked the French fashion house Louis Vuitton to remove the titanic trunk, which was planned to house a six-week travel-themed exhibition, after local lawmakers criticized the structure as inappropriate.

The suitcase, measuring 30 meters (100 feet) long and nine meters (30 feet) high and adorned with the famed Louis Vuitton logo, was due to house a “Soul of Travel” exhibition on the history of the company’s luggage from December 2 to January 19. The display, featuring historical suitcases and contemporary art video installations, was one of several events to mark the 120th anniversary of the famed Moscow department store.

“We have informed the Russian representatives of Louis Vuitton of the need to immediately dismantle the pavilion. We will also take immediate steps to remove any annoying effects of the Louis Vuitton pavilion,” a GUM spokesman said.

The GUM spokesman said the company’s decision to ask for the pavilion to be taken down was in response to the negative reaction of Russian society, and because the structure exceeds the permitted limits.

Public outrage over the litigious luggage reached a fever pitch in recent days as people criticized the suitcase’s placement in the square – a UNESCO Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction – and the display’s timing over the New Year holiday.

Russian lawmakers in the state parliament, based just across the street, complained that Red Square was a “sacred place of the Russian state” which could not be “trivialized.”

Louis Vuitton said the exhibition was a non-profit event aimed at raising funds to support supermodel Natalia Vodianova’s charity project, the Naked Heart Foundation. The luxury brand said the pavilion was inspired by sketches of a trunk which belonged to Russian Prince Wladimir Orloff and had his monogram “P.W.O.” in large letters on the front.


Updated with comments from the presidential administration and additional background information.


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