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Pack It In: Giant Louis Vuitton Trunk Booted From Red Square

Louis Vuitton thought a two-story designer suitcase plonked in the middle of Red Square was a way to celebrate its more than century-old ties to Russia. Turns out not so much.

Russia's official Ria-Novosti news agency reports:

"The organizers of the Louis Vuitton-sponsored installation were preparing to take it down on Wednesday afternoon, the city's media and advertizing department said, after the Kremlin and Moscow's landmark GUM department store asked for their new neighbor to be removed. GUM confirmed Wednesday afternoon that work had begun to dismantle the titanic trunk.

"Measuring 100 feet long and 30 feet high and adorned with the Louis Vuitton logo, the oversized travel case was due to house a 'Soul of Travel; exhibition organized by the famed French fashion house from December 2 to January 19."

The trunk, which stood just steps away from Lenin's tomb for two weeks, was supposed to host the six-week exhibition. The suitcase also blocked the view of the St. Basil's Cathedral from the square's entrance, enraging some politicians.

"This is a sacred place for the Russian state," Sergei Obukhov, a member of the Communist Party Central Committee, said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "There are some symbols that cannot be trivialized or denigrated."

ABC News noted the trunk was seen only as an eyesore, but also an "impediment to the upcoming New Year's celebrations.

"Muscovites usually gather in the square for fireworks and drinking at midnight and were not happy about the prospects of sharing the space with a massive suitcase."

Officials appeared keen to avoid blame for allowing the exhibition to go ahead.

Louis Vuitton said the suitcase was modeled after a trunk once owned by Prince Vladimir Orlov, a Russian noble.

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Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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