So here’s something I never knew: Karl Lagerfeld was once a boxer! Hence his monogrammed Louis Vuitton boxing gloves and punchbag as his contribution to the latest Louis Vuitton collaboration, Celebrating Monogram. It’s a pretty great project, not just because of the breadth of talent that was called upon to take part (Cindy Sherman! Rei Kawakubo! Frank Gehry!), but for the end results as well.
Quick recap: To mark its 160th anniversary, Louis Vutton asked its favourite creatives to reimagine its classic monogram in a bag or accessory of their choice. Being Vuitton of course, there were no limits. Sherman wins the prize for most spectacular – she produced an astonishing dress-up trunk with drawers for various costume props, a light-up mirror, a detachable case and a messenger bag. Gehry’s offering was a ‘Twisted Box’, like his buildings it’s beautifully wonky but utterly elegant. And Louboutin’s ‘Classic Caddy’, the campest of shopping trollies is arguably the most fun and commercial.
For me, this motley assortment of monogrammed treasures amounts to a study of identity. For what else do monograms stand for but a representation of who we are? And in this case, how we see ourselves. It also sums up where we are in the world right now – doesn’t everything come back to identity? And it’s interesting to see these designers and brands looking at themselves through the products of another brand. “It was like going to school. You have a sort of duty: You have to marry your own identity with a strong identity, which is Louis Vuitton’s. That was the homework,” Christian Louboutin told the New York Times. I noticed too that a lot of these special creations come with a mirror, should you want to regard your reflection and ponder ‘who am I?’ (Or simply reapply your lipstick in the most fabulous way.)
Of all the bags, the one I’m determined to get my hands on is the Rei Kawakubo. With its cut-out holes (that look a bit like a screamy face), it’s a perfect union of Comme idiosyncracy with the most classic of Vuitton ‘Sac Plat’ totes. And making the dust bag part of the design is typical Comme topsy-turvy, back-to-front thinking…
REI KAWAKUBO’S BAG WITH HOLES
FRANK GEHRY’S TWISTED BOX
CINDY SHERMAN’S STUDIO IN A TRUNK
CHRISTIAN LOUBUTIN CLASSIC CADDY
KARL LAGERFELD’S PUNCHING BAG
MARC NEWSON’S FLEECE BACKPACK
WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Louis Vuitton