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Inside Rimowa’s a hundred and twenty fifth Anniversary Exhibition in Shanghai

Inside Rimowa’s a hundred and twenty fifth Anniversary Exhibition in Shanghai

Rimowa is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a star-studded travelling exhibition of luxurious luggage memories. Prestige visited its penultimate stop in Shanghai.

It’s been called many things over the years, but when it comes to luxury luggage, it doesn’t get more classic than Rimowa. So when the German brand turned 125 years old in 2023, it celebrated its milestones of memories and technical advancement with a world-travelling exhibition and host of celebrity-packed parties. Following stops in New York and Tokyo, Rimowa scheduled the third leg of its SEIT 1898 showcase in Shanghai this month, inviting Prestige along for the celebrations.

Rimowa is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Photo: Supplied

The retrospective comes at a fitting time to reflect on what it means to be on the move. After an unprecedented pause in global travel during and even after the pandemic, new destinations and world adventures have returned to our calendars at long last.

As we set our sights on future travels, SEIT 1898 – the name means “since 1898” – remembers important and glamorous departures of the past that still define and impact present-day travel. Since its inception at the end of the 19th century, the brand has placed quality and innovation at its core to create functional tools for a life of movement – its products now even come with a lifetime guarantee.

Rimowa’s exhibition runs until 3 January in Shanghai. Photo: Supplied

Telling the story through a careful selection from its extensive archive, the exhibition guides visitors through the evolution of travel via experimental artistic partnerships, collaborations with other brands, special-purpose pieces and items that mark milestone advances in the history of air travel. Of course, it also comes with all the glamour you’d expect from Rimowa’s rise to its current status as a luxury-luggage grail.

Held at Shanghai’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and running until 3 January, SEIT 1898 features more than 100 archive cases that shaped the resilient tools of transport we trust today. As part of the retrospective, the brand presents cases owned by celebrities including LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton, Roger Federer, Billie Eilish, Jay Chou, Daniel Wu, MC Jin, Henry Lau, Wang Chuqin, Takashi Murakami and Shuhei Aoyama. While some form part of beautiful displays, others such as Eilish’s see-through pieces are right in front of you to ogle up close, from the world-tour stickers to a pair of worn-out sneakers inside.

Photo: Supplied

And if Rimowa isn’t fabulous enough on its own, it’s also been happy to share its status with other brands through exclusive and downright delightful collaborations over the years. Two of these collaborative highlights with Dior and Fendi are on display, with pieces likely to turn any airport arrivals area into a designer catwalk.

In one section, visitors even have the opportunity to collect limited-edition Rimowa Shanghai stickers to slap on their own luggage, as well as tote bags to carry aboard future flights.

Alongside the exhibition, Rimowa and MOCA are also hosting a Terminal 1898 lounge on the museum’s top floor, where VIP guests are invited for snacks and drinks inspired by the golden age of in-flight meals. Here, they can dive deeper into Rimowa’s history through books and media.

Greg Hsu attends the Rimowa 125th anniversary exhibition in Shanghai. Photo: Supplied

Of course, Rimowa was never going to land an exhibition of this magnitude in a city like Shanghai quietly. To celebrate the opening, the city’s It-crowd, influencers and international celebrities headed to a MOCA for a night of displays, canapes, champagne and a performance by rapper MC Jin.

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MC Jin performed an exclusive set at Rimowa’s 125th anniversary exhibition in Shanghai. Photo: Supplied

Despite the frosty temperatures, the red carpet outside MOCA was warmed up by flashing photographers and screaming fans waiting for the celebrities to arrive. They weren’t disappointed, being treated to a glimpses of singer Henry Lau and actors Greg Hsu, Wang Wang, Li Qinc, Zhang Lin and Mao Xiaohui. There was no shortage of Hong Kong faces either, with Faye Tsui, Veronica Li and Lindsay Jang all cracking a nod to the exclusive night on the Shanghai social calendar.

Henry Lau attends the Rimowa 125th anniversary exhibition in Shanghai. Photo: Supplied

After wrapping up the extravaganza of nostalgia in China on 3 January, the exhibition is heading for its final stop in Cologne, where the company was founded all those years ago – a full-circle moment for the anniversary. So while the exhibition’s Asian dates are now over, Rimowa fans and connoisseurs of travel history can still catch it on its home turf, though the exact dates have still to be confirmed.

Rimowa’s exhibition is taking place at Shanghai’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Photo: Supplied

Some might question what’s interesting or exciting about a functional container used for the purposes of travel. Indeed, many dirty old bags battered and bruised on conveyer belts from Manila to Mumbai don’t have the best stories to tell. But when your 125-year history includes ground-breaking technical advances, key moments in pop culture and beautifully made and rarely seen works of art, I’d say it’s well worth celebrating.

Source: Prestige Online

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