Faye McLeod, Visual Image Director for LVMH and global design powerhouse makes her Cannes debut, with her friend and creative colleague, CCO of Brandtech group Mark D’arcy.
McLeod is recognised for her ability to create captivating and immersive experiences through visual merchandising and store displays. She oversees the visual aesthetics of Louis Vuitton’s retail globally. What is not so known is the creative and deeply intellectual and artistic process behind those captivating displays. The ones that make you stop dead in your tracks along one of the hundreds of stores worldwide. The ones where you linger and dream and wonder who thought of this?
Although D’arcy jokingly told her there would be no more than six people in the room, it was overflowing with her fans, with many sitting on the floor craning to see their creative hero. There is no question, walking past a Louis Vuitton store can often be a jaw-dropping experience, almost always a remarkable piece of visual beauty and art. Craftsmanship that leaves you feeling in awe and can transport you to a world of possibility and fantasy, all at the same time.
Here is a snippet of what McLeod and D’arcy had to say about the creative process with her standout quote “I’m from Glasgow, if I can make it at LV, anyone can”.
D’arcy: Your job involves changing the windows of more than 450 stores in one week, six times a year and you have been doing this job now for 14 years. How did you narrow it down to the 5 windows we are going to be talking about today?
McLeod: First of all, thank you very much for talking me into this. I thought you said there will be six people in the room, so I had nothing to worry about! Okay, so how did we get from the 14 years of work to five to show today? I wanted to keep it punchy because I know time is of the essence. I’ve picked five that are really important. For me, personally, that I think it shows what a team can create, what it is capable of when given the trust and care and heart. It really is a team of people and it’s a really important community to me. We really put a lot of heart into what we do.
D’arcy: One of the ones you selected was when you agreed to celebrate the 200th birthday of the founder. I’d be very interested to know how and what approach you took.
McLeod: I was terrified at first! So here is the first thing. Louis Vuitton was a man. But when you Google Louis Vuitton a handbag appears. So it was very important to me to humanise the man. A man everyone knows and no one knows. I think it’s good to remember that he was a leader in modern innovation and craft.
He was the first person to make a trunk that you could travel with, that was waterproof. It struck me, he had a mantra that ideas can be anywhere, so using that concept, how can we gather an assortment of visionaries who could capture the spirit of Vuitton like poets, scientists, explorers and activists.
We gave them a blank trunk and we asked them to think of their trunks “as a vessel: for an object, a dream, a future, a reflection, a desire. I wanted to have fun, like I want to celebrate his birthday and for it to be really cool. So we had 500 people and loads of people said no, but we got it down to 200 people who participated and it was really amazing.
D’Arcy: Okay, tell us about your China year of the Tiger one. I do love this story and your obsession with car washes.
McLeod: Yes, I wanted to do a tiger that’s not a tiger. And I just like to have a bit of fun. And yes, I am obsessed with car washes and the way they whoosh around. So basically, we had this idea of taking the architecture of a car wash and taking this tiger tail and then we’re just having fun with it. But what was really funny for this one, was there was people queuing up and they were cutting parts of it off to take with them which I thought was brilliant. And yeah, that’s the kind of fun my team had.
From Carwashes to Tigers, the ideas and the energy just rolled out of McLeod’s whole being as she spoke, with “joy, trust and a big heart.”
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