Yesterday afternoon Louis Vuitton hosted something called "The Art of Packing" at their SoHo store. More precisely, they hosted the event at their brand new travel room at the Soho store which, they tell me, is only in four of their boutiques worldwide. It is as it sounds: a room devoted to all sorts of Louis Vuitton travel gear in every iteration and variation. These, of course, included his trunks which, as any LV fan knows, where his primary metier when he founded the company in 1854. (His innovation was making trunks with flat tops and bottoms, therefore enabling them to be stackable.)
There were two gentlemen there who were trained in the titular Art of Packing and there was a table at the center of the room whereupon they demonstrated their skills. [Louis Vuitton runs a week-long program in Paris specifically to equip their sales force with packing expertise.] These guys were like luxury sherpas. So the guy placed a Pegase 55, the largest of the carry ons they have. It’s a roller board, I think is what you call it. And, because the bag costs $3,900, it comes with a garment bag. He also had a Dopp Kit, an iPad case and shoe bags and other stuff. He packed Louis Vuitton clothes in a Louis Vuitton bag in a Louis Vuitton store. It was a Louis Vuitton ballotine!
Anyway, that he had a garment bag and all these things made packing a lot easier. He also rolled things, which is a trick I had learned. But then he blew my mind: "Keep in mind," he said, "that since the luggage is going to be carried vertically, put the heavy stuff on the bottom." See, when I had packed before, I had put the heavier stuff in the bottom of the luggage en couchant. However, when wheeled the bottom became the side. Any sense was, therefore, immediately shattered. This, to say the least, represents bad packing and, at worse, a serious personality flaw. For such an error demonstrates the inability to project into the future and to extrapolate how the application of one solution in a given situation changes drastically when the orientation is altered. What works when flat works not when vertical.
There are, I realized, two types of people in the world: those who pack the bottom at the true bottom and those who pack the bottom as the side. I had entered the travel room belonging to the former. I had left as part of the latter. And that journey will last a lifetime.