A COMPLETE GUIDE TO LOUIS VUITTON COLLABORATIONS
Despite being one of the oldest luxury fashion houses, Louis Vuitton has traditionally had a close relationship with popular streetwear brands and modern artists like Supreme, Comme Des Garcons and Nike. Their continued relevancy has only been made possible by its early adoption of alternative ideas, like the long-term collaboration with Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami. The partnership is still one of the house's most popular, and this along with others was only made possible by the then creative director, Marc Jacobs and later, Nicolas Ghesquière, Kim Jones and the late Virgil Abloh.
Stephen Sprouse (2001)
The first Louis Vuitton collaboration, and one that shocked the luxury fashion industry. Marc Jacobs was quoted describing the bags as “anti-snob snobbism”. This collaboration was the [now infamous] graffiti print collection; featuring a freehand style typography over the classic Louis Vuitton monogram; an element of design which had never been altered before.
Jacobs would later pay homage to Sprouse, posthumously, in 2009 with the Roses collection, another which paid homage to his freestyle, messy aesthetic. The rose was sketched during the period in which Jacobs and Sprouse were designing the first collaboration, and five years after the designer passed away from cancer - there was no better way to pay tribute to the man who changed the way luxury intersects with art. Prior to his exist from the his station as Creative Director, Jacobs paid one last homage to his friend with the Leopard print collection in 2012; the scarf from this collection is one of few collaboration piece still available to buy as part of the brands permanent collection.
“I had this idea to kind of deface the monogram. I wanted to do that with graffiti, which to me was always a kind of defiant act, a rebellious act and an anarchic act — but also something that creates . . . a new meaning.”Stephen Sprouse
Takashi Murakami (2002)
Maintaining the excitement from the Sprouse collaboration, Jacobs quickly moved to the brand's most notable and loved collection to date; with Japanese pop-artist Takashi Murakami. This collaboration spanned five separate collections over 13 years, beginning with the “multicolore” collection, a rainbow twist on the traditional Louis Vuitton monogram. This was closely followed by the Cherry Blossom collection (2002), the Panda collection (2004), the Cerises collection (2005), the MOCA Hands collection (2007), the Monogramouflage collection (2008) and the Cosmic Blossom collection (2010). This collaboration perhaps best marks Jacob's time at Louis Vuttion, and when Ghesquière took his position, he made the controversial decision to stop production of Murakami designs, which resulted in these being extremely coveted designs
“It has been, and continues to be, a monumental marriage of art and commerce. The ultimate crossover – one for both the fashion and art history books.”Marc Jacobs
Richard Prince (2008)
A less notable, but just as desirable collection, was the limited edition collaboration with American artist Richard Prince. The collection first appeared at the SS08 show, showing 12 models, each with a character embroidered onto their traditional nurse hat, and lining up to spell out ‘Louis Vuitton’. The nurse's outfits mirrored those within Prince’s art, as did the style of the handbags. They feature a mishmash of different techniques and colours, some with a washed-out monogram, some with messages printed over the monogram, and some with the monogram illustrated in watercolour. The collection famously appeared in the 2008 Sex And The City movie, as SJP’s Carrie Bradshaw gifts her assistant her first-ever Louis Vuitton bag.
Comme Des Garçons (2008)
It was clear Jacobs had a love affair and understanding with the outland-ish Japanese street style & artists. To celebrate 30-years of Louis Vuitton in Japan, he launched a once-in-a-lifetime five-piece collection with Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme Des Garcons. Kawakubo would later design two more pieces for Louis Vuitton; the “Bag with Holes” in 2014, and the same re-designed in a Black monochrome monogram, in 2021.
Yayoi Kusama (2012)
In keeping with the theme of artist collaborations, and marking the last full collaboration before Jacobs Louis Vuitton exit; enter Yayoi Kusama. Her signature is hypnotism and illusionary art, something she brought over to her collection.It featured kaleidoscopic polka dots in monochromatic colours and printed over the classic LV monogram. The collection was recently brought back into the fashion community discussions as there were whispers of the collection being reproduced. LV put the rumours to rest and announced a new collection to be released in January 2023.
“The reason I collaborate with Louis Vuitton is that Louis Vuitton is number one in the world, and I am honoured to work with them.”Yayoi Kusama
Celebrating Monogram (2014)
This would be Nicolas Ghesquière’s inaugural collaboration as creative director, and he had big shoes to fill. Rather than focusing on one collaborator for a collection, he tasked six of the world's most renowned designers & artists to each design a piece to fit their personality as tastemakers in their respective fields. Christian Louboutin, Cindy Sherman, Frank Gehry, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Newson, Julie Verhoeven; the persons upon whom the opportunity was bestowed. From this collaboration came The Punching Trunk, as designed by Karl Lagerfield; known for his playful take on luxury goods. Another notable piece was the Christian Louboutin Shopping Trolley, a perfect symphony of the timelessness of Louis Vuttion with the femme fatale sharpness of Louboutin.
A collection that no trend forecaster or media personality would have predicted. One which took the whole world, not just the fashion community, in the palm of its red and white logo-embossed hand. It was a year prior to Kim Jones' departure from the brand, and he went out with a bang; setting him up for his fruitful careers at Christian Dior and Fendi. Supreme is a skatewear brand best known for its weekly sell-out collections, and loyal community of clientele; perhaps only mirrored by the luxury community. The collection was a mix of RTW & accessories, it was well anticipated, and [unsurprisingly] sold out worldwide - and is one of the brand's most profitable collaborations.
Jeff Koons (2017)
Other Louis Vuitton collections never garnered a negative response, that was until The Masters Collection came around. Jeff Koons is an artist known for his approach to reimagining typically lack-lustre objects and turning them into art. The collection was split into two parts; the first featuring hand-painted notable pieces of art from Van Gogh, Rubens, Titan, Da Vinci and Fragonard - with a corresponding gold plaque placed on top, in some of Louis Vuitton's own classics; the Neverfull, Keepall & Speedy to name a few. A few months later, the second collection featured work from the likes of Poussin, Gauguin, Manet, Turner, Monet and Boucher. These collections would also be the first, last and only time the LV emblem was reworked and intertwined with Koons’ initials.
Grace Coddington (2019)
The Catogram collection was in collaboration with ex-American Vogue editor Grace Coddington and was as personal as they come. The main feature of the collection were hand-drawn depictions of Coddington’s pets; Pumpkin, Blanket & Léon. The collaboration spanned across selected handbags, accessories and pieces of RTW - including a pair of silk pyjamas which Coddington donned to announce the collection.
The most recent addition to Louis Vuitton's roster of collaborations is with Italian designer Fornasetti. It screams the Fornasetti aesthetic with the Louis Vuitton structure, and rightfully so. The designs were chosen by Ghesquiere from existing Fornasetti archives and given new life and purpose in this collection.
“Exploring the Fornasetti archives had the excitement of an archaeological dig, searching for and finding drawings from the past to give them a new life for Louis Vuitton – for now and the future.”Nicolas Ghesquière