On Tuesday night, Louis Vuitton presented its new collaboration with the biggest charlatan (or an undisputed genius) of the art world, Jeff Koons. The Louvre in Paris was occupied by the most artsy collection of handbags and accessories (51 of them, to be exact) all presented in front of the world’s most recognizable pieces of art such as Monet’s Water Lilies and Klimt’s The Kiss. Louis Vuitton teased us with the new collection for months before showing the world remastered versions of the Speedy, Neverfull and Keepall. The accessories line includes wallets, key chains, shawls and silk squares. All of the leather goods are inspired by 35 masterpieces, including five classic paintings by Da Vinci, Peter Paul Rubens and Jean-Honoré Fragonard.
Teaming up with Koons is a kind of passé since the artist flirted with fashion long before Louis Vuitton. Remember the work he did for Stella McCartney and H&M? The latter one was a testament of his (probably!) most unique work since the entire collection was based on original designs, rather than a reproduction of his or someone else’s work. For the most famed monogram in the world, he decided to reproduce the artwork in high-definition detail on leather.
‘I thought maybe they wanted me to do a watch,’ Mr. Koons said. ‘But then they asked about working on the bags, and I thought it could be wonderful. I have several women in my life.’ He has eight children, including two daughters, one with his current wife, Justine, and one from an earlier relationship. He saw the project as a way to broaden the audience for his work in a meaningful way. ‘It’s a great platform for communication!’ he said. (He tends to speak either with great enthusiasm or in slightly medicated, wondrous paragraphs.) ‘I can put my work on the street!’
If you are interested in the prices, the collection ranges from $585 key chain to $4,000 for the large carryall. When it was stated that the items are not really affordable, Koons added ‘Well, they can walk by the windows of Louis Vuitton and enjoy them.’ In lieu of prematurely calling him an ignorant elitist (though he most certainly is one), let us remember that he has the record for price at auction for a work by living artist: $58.4 million in 2013 for “Balloon Dog (Orange)
Compared to that, a backpack at $3,200 is a real bargain!