Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Louis Vuitton's "Celebrating Monogram", the Iconoclasts, and My Rant

Recently, in an effort to blur the lines between fashion, art, architecture and product design, Louis Vuitton commissioned six Iconoclasts- all the best in their individual fields to breathe new life into the iconic Monogram canvas. The Iconoclasts were given the task of showing the distinctly personal side of the Monogram and to re-present something we think we all know in an extraordinary, individual and idiosyncratic way.

It is within this context that the collection should be understood and appreciated.

By commissioning artists with radically different values and aesthetics than the house, all of whom have a distinct design aesthetic and approach, the end results will vary drastically. Many of the designs will not be in keeping with the Louis Vuitton aesthetic, and the only thing unifying the collection is the varying personal interpretations of the re-presentation of the Monogram canvas.

I would like to talk about Rei Kawakubo's contribution to the collection, and the mostly negative reception her design received.

Her submission, "The Bag with Holes" shown above, received mostly negative reviews and comments on Facebook when Louis Vuitton showcased her contribution to the collection. Comments ranged from how ugly and useless the bag is, how impractical and overpriced it was, to wondering whether the submission was a joke or not.

After reading annoying comment after annoying comment, it made me think about this gem of a quote: "Not everyone is entitled to an opinion. Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion."

Think about the submission within the context of the challenge.

I think there was a terrible disconnect between people interpreting this as a useless bag that Louis Vuitton randomly produced, and did not see it for what it was. This bag is tangible piece of Louis Vuitton heritage radically deconstructed and transformed by an amazing artist who personalized, subverted, and instilled her 'anti-fashion' trademark into its conception.

Rei Kawakubo brought her signature and provocative 'anti-fashion' to this piece and came up with a deconstructed and decaying Monogram canvas bag derived from the classic Sac Plat tote. Using the classic Monogram canvas as her medium, she transformed a classic piece rich with heritage and prestige into something uniquely hers; a bag that is provocative and definitely anti-fashion.

In my opinion, this task would be especially challenging for her to take on as the Monogram canvas itself, in terms of iconography and branding, is everything that she does not stand for. Her daring to cut, destroy and decay the canvas, and most significantly in my opinion, cut into the "LV" initials - something that is never done, as it usually indicates a counterfeit bag, is quintessentially anti-fashion and distinctly Rei Kawakubo.

She wins.

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