Louis Vuitton / Marc Jacobs: In Association with the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
Preface by Yves Carcelle, Helene David Weill and Beatrice Salmon, Edited by Pamela Golbin, Contribution by Veronique Belloir –
US Price: $75.00
The ‘in’ joke surrounding this book is that for some people, it will be the only Louis Vuitton piece they will ever own. In my opinion, anyone who is prepared to stump up $75 for a coffee table book can probably afford the designers clothes as well. But I digress. This actually is a fascinating look into the roles Louis Vuitton and more recently, Marc Jacobs have played, in turning a small workshop in nineteenth-century Paris into one of the most successful and recognized brands in the world. And if fashion means to you the history behind the stories since Marc Jacobs has been at the helm of Louis Vuitton from 1997, and what went on before he took over the reins of this highly successful fashion house, then this definitely is the book for you. But it also ticks all the boxes as a stand alone chic coffee table fashion book, with its oversized glossy photographs of models wearing iconic pieces, editorial throwbacks, and a little bit of history about both of the men that shaped fashion beyond comprehension. After all, with 324 pages and over 300 color illustrations, there will not be much you don’t know about this fashion house — and indeed, about the LVMJ creative minds that started it all.
As an insight into the minds of both creative directors of Louis Vuitton, this book is split sensibly into two parts. The first half concentrates on the craftsmanship and the high end design aspirations of Louis Vuitton, he who started the luxury fashion house in1854. The book tracks the innovations by Vuitton, who turned his profession of emballeur (packer) into what we now know as the foremost luxury trunk maker in Paris. He amassed a loyal clientele and fan base that included in his lifetime the French nobility as well as the elite of a prosperous empire. Prime and never-before-seen examples of Vuitton’s craftsmanship, along with the fashion that went into them, are the highlights of these chapters. Coming to the second half of the book and here we examine the role Marc Jacobs plays as Louis Vuitton’s creative director (since 1997), who decided to take the then established fashion house into a new era with a series of collaborations with artists and designers—such as Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, and Stephen Sprouse—as well as designing a line of highly successful and desired clothing for the company.
This book is no flip through quickly coffee table book, it is so much more than that. It examines in detail the two divergent but often similar careers one hundred years apart, that of Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs. It shows how a luxury brand can evolve and grow from humble beginnings and branch off into new directions but still retain the iconic and creative stamp from its birth, over 100 years ago.