Thursday, 26 June 2008

Louis Vuitton x Murakami 2008

Louis Vuitton’s relationship with Takashi Murakami has always somewhat surprised me.

LV are one of the original French Luxury Goods houses, dating back to the 1830’s when Monsieur Louis Vuitton migrated (on foot) from his hometown of Jura, France to Paris, where he became Layetier to Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Empress Eugenie de Montijo.

Over the years working with the French Aristocracy he developed expert knowledge in what made good travelling cases and began to design his own luggage, setting the foundations for the LV Co. soon to follow.

The company was founded in Paris in 1854 which Vuitton used to introduce his flat bottom trunks with Trianon Canvas (lightweight but still airtight). As the luggage at the time was generally round topped to allow water runoff it could not be stacked, however the new wave of LV trunks could, instantly becoming a success with the Aristocracy that could afford the Quality.

With success came its imitators as several other French luggage companies followed suit, to remain innovative LV changed the Grey Trianon Canvas to a Beige & Brown striped design which evolved to what is still used in 2008, Damier Canvas, in 1888. Monsiuer Vuitton added Marque L.Vuitton déposée, which roughly translates to L.Vuitton Trademark, which became the sign of the true LV Trunk or Bag. In this time Louis Vuitton opened its first store on Oxford Street, London and became known as the most prestigious maker of luggage in Europe.

In 1892 Louis Vuitton passed away in Paris and management of the company went to his son. Shortly after the Monogram design was patented by Georges Vuitton and the company began making smaller bags that could be stored inside luggage to carry small personal items. Georges dream was to take LV across the world and by 1914 they had opened the largest luxury goods store in the world on the Champs Elysee, Paris and stores in New York, Bombay, Alexandria, Washington and Buenos Aires.

It was in the late thirties that Georges applied the Monogram and Damier to all types of newly designed ‘handbags’ that arose from the need to carry Currency, Champagne Bottles and other needs of worldwide Aristocracy. Georges passed in 1936, leaving control of the company to his son Gasson-Louis who took his fathers initial small luggage industry to the next level.

Between the thirties and the sixties Louis Vuitton modified its Trunk Leathers so they became more Supple and could be used in more Applications and subsequently began appearing on all kinds of small and medium leathergoods previously not made by Malltiers. Audrey Hepburn wore an LV Bag in Charade in 1963, they were the first Luxury Goods presence in Tokyo and Asia in the 1980's and eventually appointed Marc Jacobs as Creative Director in 1998.

Marc not only brought Pret a Porter to the table but was the driving force between the Steven Sprouse and LV collaboration that produced 2001's Grafitti Bags. One of Louis Vuittons' first steps away from Minimal Luxury Luggage and were certainly at the forefront of the 'it' bags.

Then he teamed up with Takashi Murakami and blew the roof off even the tackiest of Expectations with the still popular Multicolore. Love it or hate it it put Louis Vutitton back on the map with Innovative Handbags.

From Multicolore, which was so successful it became part of the Flagship Range, he delivered Cherries & Cherry Blossoms. Last year he delivered the Love Series.

And today I have been exposed to his latest collection for Louis Vuitton and I'm not sold, which could be a good thing because I hated the Multicolore and it has gone on to sell millions.

I almost get the Tote Bag but I am not sure if the world is ready for Camoflage Leather? Is he using Jordan and Peter Andre as his inspiration. I have a lot of respect for his Artwork and his previous work in Fashion and Design but I really don't think I like this and feel its a little left of centre for what Louis Vuitton stands for historically.

That said Jacobs recent collaboration with Richard Prince may not be in the traditions of Louis Vuitton, but how would the brand survive without catering to Evolution as well as Tradition?

Same could be said by Karl Largerfeld for Coco Chanel or John Galliano for Christian Dior. After reading Chanel and Dior's biographies I often felt they would be turning in their graves if they could see their labels today. But that's a whole different post, probably shorter than this one, but I think its important if you are going to indulge in seemingly superficial things the least you can do is appreciate it for its origins and understand why you like it.

Being French and Quality is my general Caper so theres no surprises here.

1 comment:

Community College said...

I agree, those camo ones are FERAL! The richard prince ones are dope tho.