IN THE ST YLE OF
A GIANT OF THE MODERN- ART WORLD TAKES HIS CUE FROM THE OLD MASTERS.
When you first set eyes on Jeff Koons’ new handbag collaboration with Louis Vuitton, you don’t just come away with a shopping list of covetable leather goods. The bags are also a good substitute for an Art History 101 syllabus. Inspired by Koons’ own Gazing Ball paintings, the collab takes famous works of Western art off the walls and literally puts them on accessories—da Vinci’s Mona Lisa on a Keepall weekender, Fragonard’s Girl with a Dog on a clutch, Titian’s Mars, Venus and Cupid on a Neverfull tote, for instance. “We tried to choose works that would fully communicate the parameters of the project,” says Koons of the first instalment of his collection with the historic French fashion house. “[There are] landscapes but also dynamic paintings, Baroque paintings [and] intimate paintings about love. Really, [it is] the breadth of the canon of art history from a present-day point of view.” Each bag includes a short biography of the artist whose iconic work was transposed on the eminently strokable leather exterior.
This isn’t Louis Vuitton’s first rodeo in the modern-art world. Previous (crazy-popular) artist partners include Cindy Sherman and Takashi Murakami. What’s unique here is that the American provocateur was allowed to reinterpret the iconic “LV” with his own initials—a first in the brand’s history. It’s a nod to the collection’s theme, which links various parts of art’s history together. “You have the connections right there in the artists linking with one another—like Rubens’ The Tiger Hunt, which is based on da Vinci’s The Battle of Anghiari,” explains Koons. “You have all these different levels of intimacy and emotion taking place, and everybody is interconnected.” n
The Masters Collection bags, Louis Vuitton (from $1,690, louisvuitton.com)