The 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa painting, a decapitated corpse found on board of the “Cordillere” ship in Sao Paolo and a challenge received by H. Houdini in 1905. What do they have in common? Well, nothing else but a suitcase, several ones to be precise. And Gaston-Louis Vuitton. The nephew of the famous founder of the luxury brand used to collect all articles found in the contemporary newspapers which made any reference to suitcases, luggage or travel: from lost suitcases, to luggage accompanying princes, from blood stained ones, to those that were involved in espionage or love affairs. In turn, these clippings were stored in another suitcase, which has been recently found by the heirs of Louis Vuitton. The re-discovered fragments of past lives have been turned into stories by several authors and published under the name “The Trunk” by the Gallimard publishing house.
When I heard this news, I was captivated by the many layers that come together, intertwine and combine:
-suitcases which played various characters in stories taking place in the early 1900 (and from whose material presence we are left only with written traces);
-the suitcase that hosted the clippings and which continues its physical presence today (one that was turned into an archive, treasured, forgotten, and discovered)
-the same suitcase which is turned into the hero of one of the stories gathered in the book, one investigating its history
-the concept of “suitcase” which lays at the heart of this brand and shapes their life and work philosophy
-the published book, which becomes a fictional trunk of new memories, the contemporary touch on past materiality.
P.S.:And I find that this story goes perfectly well (for so many reasons) with the pun
The elephant packed his trunk and ran away to the circus.
P.P.S.: The news and details of this publication were gathered from an article published in Elle Magazine.