When it comes to collaborations, luxury juggernaut Louis Vuitton doesn’t do anything by halves. And teaming up with controversial artists is nothing new either. (Past creative hook-ups with the likes of Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami and Stephen Sprouse are proof of that.) But nothing has blended the art of the present and future with iconic offerings from the past – until now.
When the French brand unveiled its Masters collection of bags created by American sculptor Jeff Koons – who holds the world record for the highest-selling piece of artwork by a living artist (Balloon Dog Orange sold for US$58.4million in 2013) – his reappropriation of paintings by five great masters as bag imagery sparked both outrage and store stampedes.
Here three of the most influential digital content artists in the world right now – Aimee Song, Chiara Ferragni and Camila Coelho – are snapped with their choice of bag from the range, and share their thoughts about the collaboration and collection, which is currently available in Australian Louis Vuitton stores.
As founder of The Blonde Salad and a successful accessories designer in her own right, former model Ferragni – an alumni of GRAZIA Italia’s original It-Girl program – knows a plenty about lust-have pieces that have creative as well as commercial appeal. The Los Angeles based 30-year-old star whose multiplatinum music artist fiancé Fedez proposed to her earlier this year during a live broadcast concert, posed in front of the world’s most famous portrait: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, at the Louvre in Paris.
What were your first thoughts when you heard about the #LVxKoons collaboration? I was super excited … A collaboration between such an iconic brand with one of the most famous contemporary artists was something extremely inspiring. It’s beautiful to see that Louis Vuitton celebrates the art world and at the same time supports contemporary artists.
Is there a specificity in these bags’ designs that you particularly like? I love the mix between Louis Vuitton most recognisable features, such as the monogram, with pop colours and of course the paintings. It was very interesting to see some of the must-haves from Louis Vuitton, like the Speedy and the Neverfull, to become like a little piece of art signed by Jeff Koons himself.
YOU HAD THE RARE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THE BAG NEXT TO THE ORIGINAL MASTERPIECE. WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE? Shooting in this huge room that is the Salle des Etats – surrounded by masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, the Wedding at Cana by Veronese, or other masterpieces by Titian – and having dinner in company of such talented people like Patrick Demarchelier was a dream come true.
Do you have a favourite painter or painting you would love to see being part of a next chapter of this collaboration? An artist I really love is Van Gogh. He used colours in a way completely different from all other artists. I am excited that he is already part of this first chapter with Wheatfield with Cypresses, but I hope to see some of his other masterpieces – like The Starry Night for example – in the next chapters.
Like Ferragni, 29-year-old Song is Los Angelese, but in addition to fashion blogger, model and author, her CV also boasts considerable interior design expertise too. The Song of Style founder (whose name is pronounced Ah-mee, not Amy) posed in front of Girl with a Dog by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The masterpiece is on permanent loan from its corporate owner, HypoVereinsbank, to the Alte Pinakothek Gallery in Munich.
What were your first thoughts when you saw the #LVxKoons collaboration? The collection mixes fine art with fashion in a fun, eye catching way that’ll definitely get people talking. The mix between a contemporary artist like Jeff Koons using classic and iconic Louis Vuitton bags feels like a new form of art.
Is there a specificity in these bags’ design that you particularly like? My favourite part is the inside of the bag: the embossed gold letters inside with the description of the art and the artists. The mini clutch inside the Neverfull makes this pretty bag even more practical and the pop of colour on the trim makes the bag young.
You had the rare opportunity to see the bag next to the original masterpiece. What was that experience like? It was surreal. Seeing the real life painting in person and getting to shoot right next to it was so special and I can’t thank Louis Vuitton enough for the memorable opportunity.
Do you have a favourite painter or painting you would love to see being part of a next chapter of this collaboration? Henri Matisse of course.
Life is seemingly one long beach holiday for pint-sized Brazilian Instagram and YouTube star Coelho, who started her now famous YouTube beauty channel Super Vain back in 2010. So an art-adorned designer backpack and throw-all Neverfull would be entirely useful wardrobe additions. Thought now based in Boston, the 29-year-old was photographed with Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ Tiger Hunt, which lives in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes, France.
What was your first thought when you heard about the #LVxKoons range? That it would be a unique and very special project, since fashion and art make such a great combo together.
Is there a specificity in these bags’ design that you particularly like? I got to look at all of them, and each one has its unique touch, but I have to say I am obsessed with the Rubens backpack design. It’s super fresh, cool and young.
You had the rare opportunity to see the bag next to the original masterpiece. What was that experience like? Shooting at an empty museum was such a priceless experience. I felt extremely grateful for that moment, wearing a bag that no one had seen yet and in front of its inspiration, the gorgeous Tiger Hunt painting by Rubens. [It] made me feel so special.
Do you have a favourite painter or painting you would love to see being part of a next chapter of this collaboration? I am a huge fan of Picasso and would love to see one of his master pieces in a future collaboration.
All images are courtesy of Louis Vuitton.