American Marketer

Apparel and accessories

Rimowa stages first historical retrospective at Sotheby’s

September 20, 2019

Rimowa's exhibit goes beyond its aluminum grooved luggage. Image credit: Sotheby's


German luggage house Rimowa is exploring how its history is intertwined with the evolution of travel in an exhibit at Sotheby’s in New York.

Titled “Rimowa Archive Collection: 1898 – 2019,” the retrospective is being staged in partnership with Sotheby's as part of the auction house’s Fall 2019 Contemporary Curated exhibition, which was curated by chef Massimo Bottura. While Rimowa has been around for 121 years, this marks the first time that the brand has showcased archival pieces to the public.

Traveling through time
Rimowa has been working to collect more historic pieces from both collectors and consumers, fleshing out its own archives. The results of this effort are on display at Sotheby’s.

The exhibit includes early examples of travel trunks, such as a fabric-lined case from the 1920s that includes spaces for hangers and valuables. This historic example is brought into the present with a modern trunk designed to allow travelers to store three weeks' worth of luggage.

Also on display is an example of Rimowa’s first grooved suitcases from the 1950s.

Visitors get to see the Rimowa brand evolve throughout numerous logos and design updates, such as infusions of color and new materials.

Within the retrospective, Rimowa is also showcasing some examples of its purpose-built cases, such as a cello case and waterproof camera cases.

Along with the old, there is also a showcase of the new. The limited-edition Supreme and Off-White collaborations are on display.

Also featured are the cases that Rimowa made with fellow LVMH house Dior for the spring 2020 menswear collection. Some of the aluminum cases feature a monogram print created using an anodizing process.

Rimowa x Dior case. Image credit: Dior

This is the first time that the Dior collaboration will be shown to the public, following the runway show debut in June.

Also on view is a suitcase from Rimowa’s partnership with artist Alex Israel, which features a gradient color scheme.

Further tying the suitcase maker to the art world, the exhibit includes the Rimowa x Daniel Arsham piece that was auctioned for $14,000 in a Sotheby’s sale this year.

The exhibit opens Sept. 20, and will be up until Sept. 25.

Other recent Rimowa efforts have centered on the New York market.

In August, Rimowa teamed with an unlikely partner in an effort to further conceptualize its newest campaign slogan.

Through a collaboration with New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, Rimowa issued limited-edition branded MetroCards at select subway stations. The effort further connected the luggage brand to contemporary travel and mobility (see story).