French luxury brand Louis Vuitton has been ordered to remove a giant suitcase put up as a publicity stunt on Moscow's iconic Red Square, an associated department store said Wednesday, after it triggered outrage among Russians.
The boxy brown suitcase-shaped pavilion, standing 30 feet high by 100 feet wide and covered with the brand's signature “LV” stenciling, was erected less than two weeks ago outside GUM, a 19th century upmarket department store across from the Kremlin that faces the square.
But many tourists and ordinary Russians complained it was blocking views of most landmark sites, the Communist Party was outraged by its proximity to Lenin's tomb, and preservationists stressed that Red Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On Wednesday, following several days of furious media commentary, the GUM store said it had asked Louis Vuitton to take down the pavilion.
It was never entirely clear who had granted permission as the square is under official jurisdiction of the Kremlin, but a Kremlin source told Russian news agencies that the structure was “not agreed with the presidential administration.”
The Kremlin's Office of Presidential Affairs, which oversees Red Square, also said it had nothing to do with the trunk.
Some media viewed the suitcase as a symbol of modern Russia where corruption has made anything possible — even putting up giant luxury advertisements on the symbolic square without asking Muscovites — and nobody would be held responsible.
Late Wednesday, workers were putting up posters on the fence around the trunk, warning people about the beginning of dismantling works.
Moscow City Hall officials told Interfax that organizers were preparing to dismantle the installation, with the head of advertisement department Vladimir Chernikov calling it a “mistake.”