Louis Vuitton and Creation
A symbol of elegance and the French art de vivre, Louis Vuitton has cultivated a close relationship with the world of art since its founding in 1854. Inventing the art of travel, Louis Vuitton and his successors kept pace with a rapidly changing age, and worked with the most accomplished engineers, decorators, painters, photographers and designers of the day. This fascination with ever-new forms of expression grew through the subsequent decades and continues today under the guidance of its artistic director, Marc Jacobs; shoes, watches, jewelry and ready-to-wear collections have joined alongside the malletier’s distinctive bags and travel accessories.
Louis Vuitton’s interest in the arts began in the 1980s when it started working with painters like César, Sol LeWitt and Olivier Debré. Demonstrating the influence of art on artisanship, these richly textured collaborations became a tradition and reached a new level when Marc Jacobs joined the House in 1997. Passionate about contemporary art, Jacobs invited some of the world’s most renowned artists to join forces with Louis Vuitton, increasing the points of exchange between art and fashion to an unprecedented degree. Among these renowned partnerships, the late Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince even intervened directly with the House’s Monogram, freely appropriating its forms and visual identity. Collaborations between Louis Vuitton and other artists have taken a variety of forms: shop window designs, site-specific art installations for stores, exhibitions at the Espace Louis Vuitton on the top floor of the Champs-Elysées Maison, and the acquisitions of new works for the House’s own collection. In the same spirit, Louis Vuitton has called upon an international pantheon of architects to design its stores, including Jun Aoki, Kumiko Inui and Peter Marino. Advertising campaigns have also created opportunities to work with talented photographers as Jean Larivière, Annie Leibovitz, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
Why publish today a retrospective book on the major collaborations of Louis Vuitton?
At Louis Vuitton, the influence of art has been an obvious inspiration for new products, store architecture, artistic collaborations, and for the Maison’s advertising campaigns. Our will to build and grow our relationship with the contemporary art world has led us to work with numerous artists of our times such as photographers, architects and fashion designers. It was essential for Louis Vuitton to trace, through an enthralling anthology, its most significant artistic collaborations. In this book, the focus remains on artists that have impacted the history of Louis Vuitton.
What is Louis Vuitton’s role in the world of the contemporary creation?
Of all modern luxury brands, Louis Vuitton can claim to maintain the richest and most varied associations with the world of art – indeed, it is a tradition that dates back almost to the origins of the House. This desire to continuously create and reinvent, whilst maintaining and transmitting the history and identity of the brand, has been transformed into multiples collaborations, most of time quite unexpected. Constantly renewed under the influence of Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton’s commitment to the arts has recently been underscored by the establishment of the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation, announced in October 2006 by Bernard Arnault, Chairman & CEO of LVMH/Moët Hennessy.Louis Vuitton. The future Fondation will be an exciting new space and concept intended to stimulate dialogue with a wide audience and offer artists and intellectuals a platform for discussion, inspiration and reflection. If the brand inspires artists, designers and architects, they, in return, inspire Louis Vuitton. This mutual inspiration is very challenging and productive, not only for the luxury world, but also for the contemporary art world.
How do you explain the success of Louis Vuitton’s collaborations?
Fashion, luxury, art and architecture unite to propose a new vision of the world and take us away from the ordinary. Contemporary art gives us an alternative point of view. Modern architecture, inseparable from the luxury world, plays a key role in setting Louis Vuitton’s name in present time. The fashion industry and its designers give a fresh energy and a unique creativity to the House’s ready-to-wear collections. A contemporary artist, whether he is an architect, a photographer or a fashion designer, often produces unexpected creations. It is a bold challenge for Louis Vuitton and I believe that only a handful of brands have been able to surpass the boundaries to this point between luxury and contemporary creation.
Haluk Akakçe, Azzedine Alaïa, Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, Jun Aoki, Ron Arad, Arman, Gae Aulenti, Shigeru Ban, Philippe Barthélémy & Sylvia Griño, Vanessa Beecroft, Manolo Blahnik, Eric Carlson, Gilles Carnoy, César, Jaime Chard, Kirill Celuskin, Sandro Chia, Claude Closky, Patrick Demarchelier, Olivier Debré, Vincent Dubourg, Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, Sylvie Fleury, Frank Gehry, Romeo Gigli, Jean-Paul Goude, Guzman, Zaha Hadid, Hans Hemmert, Anouska Hempel, Fritz Hansen, Kumiko Inui, Arata Isozaki, Marc Jacobs, Alexey Kallima, Rei Kawakubo, David LaChapelle, Xavier Lambours, Helmut Lang, Jean Larivière, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Ange Leccia, Annie Leibovitz, Sol LeWitt, Christian Liaigre, Michael Lin, Katherina Manolessou, Peter Marino, Raymond Meier, Miss.Tic, Isaac Mizrahi, Nicolas Moulin, Takashi Murakami, Malakeh Nayini, Jean-Jacques Ory, Martin Parr, Bruno Peinado, Fabrizio Plessi, Richard Prince, Andrée Putman, Jean-Pierre Raynaud, Razzia, Ugo Rondinone, James Rosenquist, Alberto Sorbelli, Stephen Sprouse, Philippe Starck, Sybilla, Juergen Teller, Ruben Toledo, Nicole Tran Ba Vang, James Turrell, Inez van amsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Julie Verhoeven, Zhan Wang, Vivienne Westwood, Tim White-Sobieski, Robert Wilson, William Adjété Wilson.