Louis Vuitton fuses high art with high fashion

The prosperous relationship between Louis Vuitton and contemporary art began in 1874, twenty years after the luxury label was founded.

Today, the fashion house continues to retain privileged links with the decorative arts, including painting and design; as well as an unwavering desire of patronage that is driven by creativity and modernity.

“Luxury, fashion and art are both expressions of emotion and passion; they search the exceptional and give us an alternative view of the world. Art inspires fashion and luxury, as luxury and fashion inspires art,” stated Yves Carcelle, CEO and president of Louis Vuitton.

LV’s artistic collaborations first began with its iconic luggage, but quickly extended into more varied domains, such as the concept of “surprise windows” for the LV boutiques. Beginning with Gaston Vuitton’s pioneering vision and then reignited more than 80 years later by stage designer and visual artist, Robert Wilson, the concept of Vuitton’s “surprise windows” has become a respected fixture in both the fashion and art worlds. Now, with Louis Vuitton’s unveiling of its commissioned windows by the renowned Iranian artist, Farhad Moshiri, the concept has made its way to the Middle East for the first time.

The artistic collaboration comprises of four separate artworks that are presented in one of each of the LV windows in the UAE. The four windows, entitled Once Upon A Time, Writing In Waterfalls, Top of the World, and Frosting Stories are each an enchanting depiction of contradicting concepts often relayed to the nature of Moshiri’s materials. The first Iranian artist to achieve the one million dollar mark at auction, Moshiri tactically deconstructs all pre-conceived associations surrounding his resources by extending them far beyond their inherent qualities. In doing so, the artist successfully situates them within a new perspective. The dazzling use of ‘candy’ colors and hybrid materials in his artworks capture both the playfulness and expert craftsmanship of the brand.

Although this marks a new area of representation for Moshiri, his windows installation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai joins a long and colorful repertoire of past window collaborations for Louis Vuitton designed by contemporary artists since 2002, with the first window by artist Bob Wilson, and followed by collaborations with Olafur Elliason, Takashi Murakami and Ugo Rondinone, stated Damien Vernet, General Manager of Louis Vuitton Middle East and India. “It is important also that Louis Vuitton celebrates and pays tribute to the dynamism of art in the region, as first exemplified by our recent collaboration with Nadim Karam, unveiled during Art Dubai in March this year, and now with this wonderful Farhad Moshiri windows project.”

Much like Moshiri’s deconstruction of unconventional mediums, Iranian artist Nik Nejad focuses on deconstructing the notion of beauty in a series of works focusing on the ways in which women and gender are perceived across societies. A fellow product of the Iranian Diaspora, Nejad, is a 20-something emerging talent based out of Dubai. His works have been described as “Jackson Pollock meets Chuck Close,” and have already garnered the young star with considerable recognition from the art community.
Both men present a paragon of their respective generations. Arab News was able to mediate a candid dialogue between the two artists, which blurred the lines between protégé and mentor, interviewer and interviewee; only to reveal an intimate conversation on the fashionable world of art.

Farhad Moshiri: Absolutely. Just last night, for example, I was strolling down the mall with my wife, and we went into a store and I was just looking and it just dawned on me how incredibly multi-layered fashion has become. A revival in fashion has given a lot to art and the playfulness that fashion designers are showing right now is truly artistic. On the other hand, I see a lot of artists who are not being playful, fashion designers who are not even though there is a tendency for the industry to look at contemporary art for inspiration, style, and for ideas. I think it’s kind of a standstill, where everyone is throwing ideas at each other.

FM: With the advent of the Internet, everything is happening fast and has speeded up — almost too fast. The attention span of people has decreased, galleries are less patient with artists, and the pressure is enormous because things have speeded up. Artistic development is almost nonexistent because the speed has made it quite structured.

FM: That’s a very interesting question because there is a flipside. On one hand, it’s obvious you have to keep current for fear that you will do something that has been done yesterday; and it’s most likely that you will find that your ideas have already been done… so that is a danger when isolating yourself. But on the flip side, you need to be able to detach yourself and have a clear head and not to be too much in the current for fear that you will become part of that and lose your personal vision.

Article by Marriam Mossalli – Arab News