Following what has been the best-kept fashion partnership secret of 2017, Louis Vuitton has finally announced its latest big name artist partnership: an accessories range created with arguably the greatest sculptor of modern times, Jeff Koons.
And given GRAZIA Australia has already seen (and held-slash-coveted) the entire embargoed collection IRL, you can believe us when we say these fashionably polarising pieces will be just as fought over as they are sought after.
Not immediately familiar with the Jeff Koons name? It’s likely you’ll still recognise his crowd-pleasing works, particularly the large-scale reflective balloon animals that have popped up in and around prestigious art galleries for the past two decades, and the 13-metre-high west highland white terrier made of flowers aptly named Puppy that stood outside Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 1995 as part of its world travels.
Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images
But it’s not the great creative behind these new Louis Vuitton accessories, which will be available at just two flagship stores in Australia from April 28 onward, that makes the entire collection controversial – it’s what he’s chosen to adorn them with.
Koons, whose Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for US$58.4million (almost A$78million) at Christies London in 2013, making it the highest price ever attracted by a living artist at auction, has reappropriated paintings by five of the great masters: Da Vinci, Rubens, Fraggonard, Titian and Van Gogh.
After gaining vital permissions from each of the galleries that own the masterpieces, then forming them into a range of wearable bag shapes, he stamped both the LV Monogram and his own initials (designed in the same font and size as LV’s).
Watch a teaser for the collection here:
The surname of each classic artist is also stamped in bold lettering across the bag in a similar reflective metal to Koons’ own coloured stainless steel signature works, which are created through a process that’s as closely-guarded a secret as this LV project was. A bunny-shaped motif tag, inspired by another of Koons’ most famous pieces – a 16-metre-long helium balloon toy bunny – adorns many of the pieces or can be purchased alone as a bag tag for $700.
Louis Vuitton, Masters Collection by Jeff Koons Chain Bag, $4950. SHOP IN STORE
Louis Vuitton, Masters Collection by Jeff Koons Silk Square, $880. SHOP IN STORE
LOUIS VUITTON, MASTERS COLLECTION BY JEFF KOONS SPEEDY 30, $3750. SHOP IN STORE
The inside of each leather pieces – ranging from small clutches and purses to handbags, backpacks, totes and even an overnight duffle – features a paragraph of text stamped in metallic print to serve as a biography for the original artist featured. The feature might help to ease the rage of art purists who will likely consider this visual sampling as artistic sacrilege.
Borrowing from the masters was certainly a bold move for a man who’s famously said (much to the disdain of art critics) that his biggest works had little to no hidden meaning. This project, however, is intended to convey the clash between the beauty of classic art and the bold self-promotion of the modern era, all in a luxuriously wearable form.
“We both have the same objective – we want to make something that really uses materials, uses texture, colour, communicates, creates something that’s desirable,” says Koons in the short video interview (included below) of the vision he shares with the brand. “Louis Vuitton does that and my art tries to do that through idea, through the same appreciation of craft.”
“I wanted it [the Masters collection] to become art. I believe that these bags are art.” Whether you’re a lover of artworks and great artists, or simply love really beautiful bags that make a big statement, this collection is a must-have. We predict a riot.
The Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons collection is available in the Sydney and Melbourne flagship boutiques from April 28.
Watch Jeff Koons speak about the collaboration in this 2-minute video: