It was in 1896 that Georges Vuitton, son of Louis Vuitton, created the house’s now-iconic gold and brown monogram, a geometric pattern composed of flowers and stylized LV initials. The monogram has gone on to serve as the enduring emblem of the maison, understood on sight all over the world and translated each season into luggage, leathers, apparel, accessories. — and recast in the style and vision of Stephen Sprouse, Richard Prince, and Takashi Murakami.
In the collaborative spirit that defines contemporary art-making, the monogram has in recent years been famously altered in the style and vision of Stephen Sprouse, Richard Prince, and Takashi Murakami. But that was Marc Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton, and this is a new day — and with it, a fresh batch of artists and designers selected by LV’s new creative director Nicolas Ghesquière (who’s incorporated the monogram in his first two runway collections for the house) and LVMH’s Delphine Arnault.
And so, today the French fashion house announced the launch of Icon and Iconoclasts, wherein six high-profile artists and designers — Karl Lagerfeld, Rei Kawakubo, Cindy Sherman, Frank Gehry, Christian Louboutin, Marc Newson — have been invited to revisit the monogram, reimagining it in ways faithful to the house.
Five of the six participants are extended family of LVMH: Lagerfeld has been designing collections for Fendi, part of the LVMH stable, for decades; Kawakubo collaborated with Louis Vuitton in 2008 on a line of bags, also using monogram; and Gehry is the architect whose Foundation Louis Vuitton art museum will open later this year in the outskirts of Paris. Sherman is the newbie of the group, for whom designing a bag will be a first. She and Lagerfeld will additionally create a numbered edition of trunks.
Icon and Iconoclasts is intended to welcome Ghesquière into the fold since a centenary of the monogram has already taken place. In 1996, carte blanche was given to Azzedine Alaïa, Helmut Lang, Manolo Blahnik, Vivienne Westwood, Romeo Gigli, Isaac Mizrahi, and Sybilla on a similar reimagining of the classic graphic.
$2,725 – $5,450 at Louis Vuitton stores in October