It’s fair to say that Louis Vuitton and the arts get along very well. From Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman to Stephen Sprouse’s graffiti and Yayoi Kasuma’s spots, the luxury house has been known to collaborate with many an artist over the years. Their Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris has become a contemporary arts hub for the city since launching in 2014, elevating the house as a curator and patron of the arts. Now, straight off its hit collaboration with Supreme, Louis Vuitton has revealed its latest creative collision – with none other than Jeff Koons.
Contemporary art’s master of high and low, Koons often-large scale works probe popular culture, defamiliarising everyday objects through blown up sizes and unexpected materials. Like his Balloon Dog, his 1988 porcelain and gold sculpture of Michael Jackson and his pet monkey, and his Gazing Ball series – which the artist has re-created on a new range of bags and accessories for Louis Vuitton. The series encompasses re-imaginings of masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Rubens, Fragonard and Van Gogh, these artworks applied to the canvas of iconic Vuitton pieces and emblazoned with each artists’ name. The Speedy meets da Vinci? Major.
Perhaps the most major cornerstone of the collaboration is that Koons has been invited to redesign the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram. The Koons version incorporates the artist’s initials, the first time the house has ever allowed a re-design of its iconic LV motif. Elements from the new monogram are cast in metal on the exterior of bags, while a biography and portrait of the Master whose work is referenced in Koons’ pieces is tucked on the inside of the bag.
In re-positioning Western art’s most seismic icons in this way, Koons has taken his works one step further, asking us to reconsider the Old Masters in a context like never before. Today’s announcement is the first stage of what will be a multi-level collaboration, with more project announcements to come.
Louis Vuitton’s ‘Masters’ collection will be available from 28th April. Watch this space for further announcements on the next stages of the collaboration.