Those who turned up for cocktails at Seoul's Horim Museum on July 5 to mark the opening of Louis Vuitton's newest global store — at the nearby Hyundai Coex department store — would have been forgiven if they took one look at artist Billie Achilleos' 1.8-metre-long White Tiger creation on display and thought they had walked into Zoo-y Vuitton.
A self-described “versatile artist and maker of things”, the Briton had been commissioned by the Malletier to chop up its Damier Azur leather bags and accessories for transformation into South Korea's national animal, the tiger, as an homage to the house's longstanding relationship with the Asian nation. The choice of material for the tiger was also symbolic — the Damier canvas celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.
This is not the first time the talented Wimbledon College for Art graduate has worked with the luxury bag maker. In 2011, Achilleos was commissioned for an entire travelling menagerie of animal sculptures (including a grasshopper, armadillo and grasshopper) to mark the 100th anniversary of the Louis Vuitton SLG Savoir Faire collection.
Achilleos' White Tiger will switch enclosures from the Horim Museum to Louis Vuitton's new, two-level Hyundai Coex store before going on a tour of the brand's other boutiques across the country.