29 April 2013

WORLD TOUR with Francisca Mattéoli


Louis Vuitton founder's grandson Gaston-Louis Vuitton was a lifelong traveller-and that seems appropriate in light of the Vuitton motto,

 "Show me your luggage and I'll tell you who you are." 

Gaston-Louis Vuitton

Author & traveller Francisca Mattéoli takes readers on an elegant trip through the first half of the 20th century with Vuitton when travel was an Art. Her most recent book-World Tour Vintage Hotel Labels from the Collection of Gaston-Louis Vuitton- is a get away to Vuitton's world of travel through a collection spanning forty years when travel was a luxury-an exploration-and ripe with innovation.

The Gaston Louis Vuitton Collection includes over 3000 hotel labels and World Tour is filled with them-along with photographs of grand hotels, of cities, and of travelers as they embarked on trips to the hot spots of the 20th century. Mattéoli makes 21 Stopovers in the book: "Taking The Waters,"  "Languorous North Africa," & "Magic Of The East" are just a few of the places readers are bound. The over 900 labels featured are filled in by Mattéoli with stories and glimpses of the places-like Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris and the Raffles Hotel in Singapore where the lives of society's elite, the great writers and thinkers- and movers & shakers of the 20th century were played out.

Francisca Mattéoli

about the book from Francisca:
"This book is very special to me - as a Chilean writer living in Paris - because I wrote about my family at the beginning of the book, when we arrived from Chile and lived the hotel du Louvre in Paris, not knowing what was going to be our future, and finding in that hotel a refuge. It was my family way of life. My parents knew the golden age of travel, they used to live in hotels, and loved authentic and stylish things - décors, objects and also memories that will last and give us strengh when we think of them."

I love the look of the book-all 500 pages of it!
Perhaps it the elegant embossed deep brown leather and the pages tipped in vivid marigold with the cities printed across them-or the sheer heft of the book.
Once you open the book- the labels' old colors and bold graphics spill out over the pages & their nostalgia takes one off to a bygone era-when three colour printing made less- definitely more. These bold travel labels were affixed onto luggage at hotels & served as a way advertising the stops a traveller made across the continent and farther afield to exotic locales. Vuitton collected these miniature billboards from his travels and had the most interesting labels removed from trunks in his work and put aside for his own collection. The labels in book are set against a backdrop of period photographs and a number of vintage postcards have been reproduced for the book.

This is the sort of book that a traveller would love-a graphic designer-or a lifelong student of social history would think a must have, but honestly it is the sort of book that should equally be held in the hands of the young. It's one of those books that has an Aladdin's carpet feel-the ability to ignite the imagination & transport us to scenes & cities from the past.  Isn't that why we read & love books so? World Tour will take you there.

Francisca Mattéoli  is the author of other travel books and has written stories for National Geographic France and Conde Nast Traveller.

Francisca's website here
at Abrams here
a deluxe edition at Louis Vuitton here

& available at local book sellers-and online.


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