Plenty of people cover their luggage with stickers from places they’ve traveled to. Martha Stewart is not one of them.
About halfway through Rimowa’s new exhibition in N.Y.C., which celebrates the German brand’s 125 years of history, there’s a well-lit pyramid displaying the personal suitcases of the great and good—the domestic diva among them. At one corner, Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura’s carry-on is covered with stickers from Illinois to Uruguay—and even one from the World’s 50 Best Chefs, which he won in 2018. Further down on the same level, Oscar-winning director Spike Lee’s roller is emblazoned with a more limited, but no less colorful, selection of stickers. LeBron James’s wine case, specially designed to transport a dozen bottles of the finest vintages, is up two levels, right next to a trunk belonging to tennis champion Roger Federer.
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And in the middle of it all is a well-traveled trunk that has followed Stewart from Des Moines to Dubai and from Boston to the Bahamas, the names of each city and the dates she visited scrawled along the brand’s ridges in a simple black Sharpie.
The free show, titled Seit 1898 (in reference to the company’s founding), opened in Tokyo in June and will be on display in the Big Apple until Sept. 17. In addition to that collection of items belonging to the great and good, there are a series of displays that chart the company’s history from saddle maker to luxury lifestyle player, including examples of the world’s earliest aluminum and polycarbonate suitcases.
“Seit 1898 is a testament to Rimowa’s commitment to its heritage,” says company executive Emelie de Vitis in a statement. “It shares its pioneering design philosophy that’s endured for 125 years and continues today. And we couldn’t be more pleased to bring that story to such a history-rich travel hub like New York.”
But the display goes beyond luggage to special editions and one-offs, including a case Rimowa made for Pharrell Williams, now the menswear designer at Louis Vuitton, to transport an electronic keyboard. One display showcases a unique rolling golf bag next to a collab with the Swiss furniture maker USM Haller. The brand collaboration section features partnerships with Aesop, Supreme, Fendi, and teases a forthcoming effort with fellow LVMH brand Tiffany & Co. There’s even a small camper trailer constructed from the company’s signature grooved aluminum.
The exhibition will head to Shanghai in December, and word has it it will head back to Rimowa’s hometown of Cologne sometime next year. Even if you can make it to China or Germany in the coming months, the Big Apple stop is worth a visit. After all, it’s the only place you can get the N.Y.C. exclusive sticker set for your own luggage.
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