Icons of Art and Icons of Luxury: When the first Remodels the Latter

May iconic pieces of our universal heritage inspire themselves form art and artists in order to renew their character of desirability. A very inspiring affair!

If the connection between art and fashion leaves no doubt, the ability of one to replace the other is yet to be explored. Indeed, many artists and artistic practices have been able to depend on fashion to raise their throne. The more these worlds seem paradoxical at first, the more complete the revolution. If proof would be needed, we can look the most skilful of designers in the subject. In 2001, Marc Jacobs succeeded in bringing a once scorned discipline to the patrimony of one of the most respected maisons.

In 2001, he invites the artist and designer Stephen Sprouse to revamp the emblematic canvas of Louis Vuitton. In a few strokes of colourful graffiti with quasi-exaggerated movements on the monograme, the duo entered both the universe of luxury and another all while placing street art at the pantheon of the coolest practices of the beginning of this century. 

What follows is a string of artistic collaborations all reinventing the habillage of Louis Vuitton’s icons. In 2004, Takashi Murakami is given the same task. This time, Murakami’s pop and motley universe comes to play with the monogram to create a most psychedelic illusion. In 2012 we see the work of Daniel Buren and in 2017 we reach the apotheosis: Jeff Koons and Louis Vuitton reveal a series of bags offsetting a jumbled Titian, Da Vinci, Gaugin, Van Gogh and more on the iconic Speedy and Neverfall bags. 

In 2008, Fendi called the most sought out the most covetable artists on the contemporary art scene to reinvent the iconic Baguette bag. The first it-bag created in 1997 passed through the creative hands of André, Sylvie Fleury, Jeff Koons, Tom Sachs or even Damien Hirst – proving it’s ability to to be an image of it’s time. The roman’s maison’s double F logo fashions itself into “Fun Fur” by the digital artist Reilly. This makes sense for an age where art is experienced through Instagram. 

At 30 Avenue Montaigne, the arrival of Kim Jones and Maria Grazia Chiuri strengthened the connection of Dior with art. With Kim Jones we saw the return of the emblem, the lucky charm of Monsieur Dior. The bee, so dear to Christian makes a comeback in the Brit’s first collection. However, in 2018 it draws itself in the figure of Kaws, key artist of our time. Making an appearance on the Saddle imaged from the  brand’s iconic cannage, the bee like the other icons of Dior cosies up to the lightness of our time.

Here once again we can see the benefit of making the two meet – the latter help the first in staying desirable under commercial constraints. Take the example of Lady Dior as the perfect case. A bag that had stayed in the shadows of the ateliers until Bernadette Chirac took over the prototype in order to gift it to Princess Diana for her Paris visit. This is how an icon was created and then produced for the public. Even so, when the Art Lady Dior project came to life, it came under the creative licence of John Giorno, Jack Pierson and Lee Bul. In 2016, Maria Grazia Chuiri launches a feminine and feminist version, the result? A series of Lady Dior bags just as divine and revolutionary as the works of Olga De Amaral, Polly Apfelbaum, Burcak Bingol or even Pae White. 

In the same spirit, Hermes continues its quest for fantastical and original prints inspired by the same creative energy as Robert Duman. The spirit behind the very first Hermes carré. Under the name of “Hermes Editeur” the project sporadically calls upon artists to imagine new prints for the iconic carré. It is thus that Daniel Buren would imagine 365 carrés for Hermes, one for each day of the year. Definitely something to refresh the desirability of an icon born in 1937.