The sculpturally seductive Frank Gehry x Louis Vuitton bag collection celebrates the architect’s longstanding collaboration with the fashion house
At this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, Louis Vuitton pays homage to legendary Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry with a showcase of collaborative works by him and the Maison.
The Louis Vuitton booth itself, a manifestation of Gehry’s trademark aesthetic, breathes life into wood and cardboard models that serve as essential elements of the architect’s design process. Simultaneously, five enveloping sail-like mesh structures nod to Gehry’s 2014 window displays for the Maison – creating an evocative and immersive experience.
Organised into four themes dear to Frank Gehry – architecture and form, material exploration, animals, and his twisted box creation for “Celebrating Monogram”– the objects on display include handbags, trunks, perfume bottles, original artworks, preparatory sketches, and architectural models.
The highlight of the artistic spectacle, though, is the new Louis Vuitton x Frank Gehry limited-edition handbag collection. Taking cues from said themes intrinsic to the architect’s work, the series features designs based on Louis Vuitton’s iconic Capucines bags, the Twisted Box Trunk, and a remarkable Bear With Us Clutch mirroring Gehry’s 2014 Bear with Us sculpture.
Each bag exemplifies the unique combination of Frank Gehry’s design prowess and Louis Vuitton’s remarkable craft and savoir-faire – amalgamating the codes of both authorities.
The Capucines Mini Blossom boasts glass-like resin petals inspired by perfume bottles and hammered LV insignia, recalling the logo Gehry created for the Fondation Louis Vuitton. The latter also plays a role in the Capucines MM Floating Fish, featuring leather marquetry that mirrors the piscine lamps on display at the building in Paris. Additionally, the Capucines MM Concrete Pockets features innovative 3D cement-effect screen-printing that gives the bag’s calfskin exterior the varied textures of Frank Gehry constructions.
The collection’s pièce de résistance, the “A Tea Party for Louis” Trunk, stands as an ode to Gehry’s distinctive creation for Louis Vuitton’s 200th birthday celebration. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this striking sculpture-trunk is a collection of eight arrestingly inventive figurines, each one resembling both a character in the book and the model of an imaginary Frank Gehry building. “When brought together, the characters form what the architect describes as a tea party for the Maison’s founder,” explains the brand’s statement.
Beyond the handbag collection, the exhibition reveals a panorama of Gehry’s projects for Louis Vuitton – from Les Extraits perfume bottles handcrafted in Murano, Italy, to preparatory sketches for the “Celebrating Monogram” project and maquettes exploring Gehry’s design for the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. These are accompanied by videos illustrating Gehry’s most famous collaborations with the luxury house, and a painted portrait of the architect by French artist Jean-Philippe Delhomme.
Louis Vuitton’s presence at Art Basel Miami Beach solidifies its status as a global Associate Partner, underscoring the Maison’s enduring commitment to the arts. From the inception of collaborations with artists in the early 20th century to the present-day partnerships with luminaries like Frank Gehry, Louis Vuitton’s legacy as a patron of the arts continues to flourish.
As the curtain rises on this artistic odyssey, Louis Vuitton invites the public to witness the spectacle at the West Lobby of the Miami Beach Convention Center, where the exhibition will enchant visitors from 8 to 10 December this year.