Louis Vuitton gives good collab. This we know to be true. Over the years, the seriously luxury fashion label has enlisted international pop-artists like Sylvie Fleury, Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami to decorate its LV-emblazoned wares, all to widespread acclaim. The brand’s latest jaw-dropping art and fashion world mash-up comes courtesy of arguably the most marketable living artist, Jeff Koons (he of the orange balloon dog that sold for $58.4 million back in 2013).
In the past, Koons has produced one-off collections for the likes of Stella McCartney and H&M. However, this is the first time the artist has blessed a brand with an original design, rather than, say, remaking a sculpture as a bag.
The Masters collection, Vuitton and Koons’ inaugural 51-piece collab, features imagery from the artist’s “Gazing Ball” painting series. Unveiled in 2015, the series featured large-scale, hand-painted reproductions of classic works by over 40 artists (among them Rubens’ “The Tiger Hunt,” Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Fragonard’s “Girl with Dog” and Van Gogh’s “Wheat Field With Cypresses”) each partially obscured by a reflective blue lawn ornament.
The Masters collection takes several of these images (sans ornaments) and transposes them onto classic LV bag styles like the Speedy, the Keepall and the Neverfull, along with wallets, laptop cases and shawls. Each bag is emblazoned with the name of the Master it touts (Van Gogh, Fragonard, etc.) in reflective gold or silver lettering. For the first time ever, LV lent out its signature monogram logo. The bottom edge of each bag features Koons’ initials, LV style. In return, a balloon bunny (Koons’ calling card) done in leather replaces the typical LV ID tag. Said leather bunny tag will also be sold individually.
Per usual, the April 28 drop will be fairly hard to get ahold of. (Louis Vuitton is known to traffic in scarcity.) Bags won’t be sold online — they’ll be available at select Vuitton stores and a New York-based pop-up shop, opening later this month. On the bright side, Koons and Vuitton are in talks for a second collaboration.
Needless to say, prices are steep, ranging from $585 for a key chain to $4,000 for the large carryall. (Though, for an original Koons, $4,000 is kind of a steal.) The majority of the bags hover between $1,000 and $3,000.
No doubt some will accuse the brand and the artist of selling out, but it’s nothing they haven’t heard before. “I think we’re going to get some pushback,” Michael Burke, the chief executive of Vuitton, told the Times. “People are going to be upset about the sacred entering the realm of the profane. But we like to do things that can be perceived as politically incorrect. If we are getting flak, we think we are doing something right.”
“I hope people understand my ideas,” said Koons of the collab. “I hope they embrace them as a continuation of my effort to erase the hierarchy attached to fine art and old masters.”
Scoff, shell out or admire them as you would a “Ballon Dog (Orange)” in a museum — the choice is yours. Hit play on the video above or scroll through the gallery below for a preview, then head over to louisvuitton.com to ogle the collection in full.
All Images: Louis Vuitton
[ via the New York Times ]