In 2015, New York–based artist Jeff Koons’s Gazing Ball series of large-scale paintings reproduced classical masterpieces in excruciating detail—save for one distinguishing feature: a cobalt-blue glass sphere protruding from the canvas. These reflective baubles offer an entry into the potentially unapproachable realm of fine art, and Koons carries this endeavour into the fashion world in his collaboration with Louis Vuitton.
The 51-piece Masters collection transfers Koons’s Gazing Ball series to Louis Vuitton’s wares, minus the balls. The scarves, wallets, and laptop sleeves—available at select Louis Vuitton boutiques and a New York pop-up shop until the end of July—bear Koons’s re-creations of Old Masters’ works, right down to the cracks in the paint. Most notable, perhaps, are the handbags: favourite Vuitton styles, from the compact Speedy to the elegant duffel-esque Keepall, are adorned not only with swirling Van Gogh scenes and Mona Lisa’s smile, but the respective artist’s name displayed in gold and silver metal lettering.
Koons is the first Louis Vuitton collaborator granted permission to redesign the house’s 1896 monogram. But while the series melds styles from the maison and Koons alike—with a nod given to the Old Masters themselves in the form of their biography and portrait printed on each bag’s lining—the artist does not shy away from leaving his mark. Each bag features a tag in the shape of one of Koons’s best-known motifs—the inflatable rabbit figure. Masters is fashion’s take on an art history lesson.
The Louis Vuitton Masters pop-up shop will run until the end of July at 655 Madison Avenue, New York City, New York, 10065.
Photos courtesy of Louis Vuitton Malletier / Melanie + Ramon.
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