The Moon, the Stars & Louis Vuitton

IMG00176.jpgIt’s not every day that you get invited to an event where you get to see astronauts – especially ones who have walked on the moon, so when I got the chance to attend last night’s gala reception hosted by Louis Vuitton which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing, I was totally onboard.
You see, 1969 was a big year for me. It was a time when truly amazing things happened – men walked on the moon, the Mets won the World Series…and oh, a little blip on the radar screen…I was born.
I’ve always been fascinated by astronomy and while I never aspired to join the space program, I have to admit, I have always been amazed by the feats of a few brave souls who have left the earth to explore our universe (I can’t even set foot on a plane without being freaked over the turbulence). So imagine my surprise when I stood amidst a sea of New York elite marveling at two space pioneers – Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell. The event was held in honor of The Climate Project, an organization founded by Al Gore to educate the public about climate change and it was sponsored by Louis Vuitton.
While you may be wondering what NASA has to do with luxury handbags, the president of the company, Daniel Lalonde explained that the company, which has been around since the 1860’s, is synonymous with memorable travel adventures. Their ad campaign – which could double as a work of art – was photographed by Annie Liebovitz and features Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin and Sally Ride in a truly inspiring image as the trio gaze at the moon from a beat up truck. Of course, a classy Louis Vuitton briefcase is expertly positioned by Sally Ride’s feet – further evidence that a woman always knows how to travel in style.
While we spent the first hour and a half people watching – trust me Role Mommies, the crowd could have doubled for the cast of characters who were featured regularly on “Sex & the City.” There were also a bevy of TV journalists and personalities in attendance – from Bryant Gumbel to Dan Abrams, to “Inside Edition’s” Deborah Norville, to tons of CNBC financial reporters – my husband effortlessly rattled their names off as well, but I was pretty clueless on that front. We even noticed Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly in the crowd. Then, my husband spied several more influentials in finance – again lost on me. I did notice a woman wearing a really tiny black hat and a few more dressed to the nines in fabulous cocktail attire – one woman even wore a bluish space-like swing dress that was actually quite stunning. But I digress. We were here to talk about space – not cocktail frocks.
And so, at 8:30 pm, the astronauts took center stage on a flight of steps above the Rose Hall center at the Museum of Natural History. From there, we heard Jim Lovell recount the triumphs of the early days of the space program. You may remember that Lovell was portrayed by Tom Hanks in the blockbuster film, Apollo 13 and uttered the historic phrase “Houston, we’ve had a problem” during that ill-fated mission to the moon. Next, Buzz Aldrin recounted his experiences in the NASA program as well as the lunar landing. “Walking on the moon was the high point of my life,” said Aldrin, as he reflected on that moment in time captured 40 years ago. I’m sure the image of Armstrong and Aldrin planting a flag on the moon is still a high point in the lives of many who watched the events from their television sets or from the ground at the site of the historic rocket launch. Incidentally, today’s NY Times has some incredible retrospective articles, videos and photos of the first lunar landing.
As the event drew to a close, we were presented with reproductions of the New York Times front page story from 1969 with the memorable headline: Men Walk on the Moon. Sure, I would have loved to have also received a handbag or key chain, but I have a better idea. Perhaps as future generations of astronauts embark on a mission to Mars, I think they deserve to travel in style. Nothing like a set of Louis Vuitton luggage to make any journey unforgettable.