LOUIS VUITTON collaborates with six renowned and creative iconoclasts, CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN, CINDY SHERMAN, FRANK GEHRY, KARL LAGERFELD, MARC NEWSON and REI KAWAKUBO, have each been given carte blanche to create a personally inspired bag and/or a piece of luggage, using the iconic MONOGRAM while keeping with the brand’s spirit of innovation, collaboration and daring. Spanning, blurring and redefining the disciplines of art, architecture and design, this diverse and extraordinary group has created a unique collection. The project itself was initiated by DELPHINE ARNAULT, Executive Vice President of LOUIS VUITTON and NICOLAS GHESQUIÈRE, LOUIS VUITTON’s Artistic Director of Women’s Collections.
“When we talked with NICOLAS GHESQUIÈRE about the extraordinary talents we would like to approach we simply went to those who are among the best in their fields,” says DELPHINE ARNAULT. “We were interested in people who work with their minds and their hands. I thought it was so interesting and fun and to have all of these different points of view on the MONOGRAM. It is inspiring to see how they envision things, to see their perspectives. This is a group of geniuses.” “MONOGRAM is timeless, yet with this project we wanted to celebrate it in a way that defied the conventions of ‘classic’“ says MICHAEL BURKE, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LOUIS VUITTON.
THE ICON: LOUIS VUITTON’S MONOGRAM
In 1854, Louis Vuitton founded his House. In 1896 his son, Georges Vuitton, created The Monogram in honour of his late father. An icon was born. The Monogram was revolutionary when it appeared. This most particular and personal of signatures was instantly transformed into a universal symbol of modernity in the hands of Georges Vuitton: it is one of the first exercises in elevated branding and a defining sign of a global culture to come. In 1965 Gaston-Louis Vuitton, recounted how his father, Georges, had created the motifs on The Monogram canvas: ‘First of all, the initials of the company – LV – are interlaced in such a way as to remain perfectly legible. Then a diamond. To give a specific character to the shape, he made the sides concave with a four-petal flower in the centre. Then the extension of this flower in a positive image. Finally, a circle containing a flower with four rounded petals.’ The Monogram is now recognised globally as a defining signature, both literally and metaphorically, of the House of Louis Vuitton. As it has travelled through time, certain of its features and meanings remain the same. Blurring the boundaries between craftsmanship, art and design, Louis Vuitton has repeatedly embraced the notions of innovation, collaboration and daring throughout The Monogram’s history. It is within this context that Louis Vuitton’s ‘The Icon and The Iconoclasts: Celebrating Monogram’ project appears this year. It is a collection of works that shows the distinctly personal side of the Monogram; re-presenting something we think we all know in an extraordinary, individual and idiosyncratic way. Six creative iconoclasts – the best in their individual fields – who blur the lines between fashion, art, architecture and product design, have been given carte blanche to dictate and make whatever they see fit in the patterned canvas. Echoing the special Louis Vuitton centenary collection of 1996 where Azzedine Alaia, Manolo Blahnik, Romeo Gigli, Helmut Lang, Isaac Mizrahi, Sybilla and Vivienne Westwood contributed individual and distinct designs for 2014’s collection, the participants have progressed even further. Here, Christian Louboutin, Cindy Sherman, Frank Gehry, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Newson and Rei Kawakubo radically, personally and playfully realise an unparalleled collection. In many ways it means The Monogram has come full circle: looking at its handcrafted roots once more, its direct connection to a person, its daring and genre defying audacity and, above all, its journey into the future for Louis Vuitton. This is a collection that is both universal and personal, and in the cherished traditions of the house, once again defies expectations.