Louis Vuitton X Jeff Koons: Masterpieces or Mishaps?
April 30, 2017
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Gaudy meets chic in collaborations between fashion designers with different aesthetics including collections by Alexander Wang x Adidas, Urban Outfitters x Juicy Couture and Victoria Beckham x Target. The latest shocking collaboration was created by artist Jeff Koons and top fashion house Louis Vuitton. The bags and accessories have already caused quite a stir in the fashion community because of their portrayal of paintings by classical artists.
The entire collection includes 51 pieces, ranging from handheld purses to backpacks, scarves and keychains, that all feature the shape of Koon’s The Inflatable Bunny. Each bag depicts a famous work from a renaissance artist, such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The front of each bag includes the names of artists like Titian, Da Vinci and Rubens.
Along with the artistic works on each bag, there are decorative accents of the gold Louis Vuitton symbol as well as JK for Jeff Koons in the classic Louis Vuitton font. Some of the accent colors on the edges and zippers of the purses and book bags are a deep cerulean, burgundy and salmon pink. The collection is inspired by Koon’s series Gazing Ball, in which he places a blue spherical ball in sculptures inspired by ancient Greek and Roman works.
The trouble with combining the old with the new in terms of fashion is that there is bound to be backlash. Some are raving about the blend of old and new while others consider it a form of appropriating artwork. Artists such as Da Vinci and Rubens did not spend their lives creating masterpieces for them to be commercialized onto a handbag.
However, this is not the first time an artist and designer have produced a controversial collection. In 2016, Raf Simons collaborated with American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe to produce a clothing line that blended some of Mapplethorpe’s nude images of men’s genitalia, amongst other things.
Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke clearly learned from the feedback over the Simons and Mapplethorpe collaboration. In an interview with the contributors of the LV x JK collection and Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times, he stated that the company was expecting mixed reviews.
“I think we are going to get some pushback. People are going to be upset about the sacred entering the realm of the profane.”
But production continued for this collection and was released in stores April 28. The brand wanted to fuse classic with contemporary while adding new breadth to something so aged. The collection itself will certainly be successful for the very reason it is being debated — its relatability.
Many people recognize these classic pieces regardless of whether the collection is exploiting the artwork. Although the collection has some debatable aspects, we should take our hats off to Louis Vuitton and Jeff Koons for tapping into a way to integrate art with fashion — quite literally.
Email Brina Jeffries at [email protected]