For a three month period beginning September 4th, the entire Comme des Garçons store on Kottodori, Omotesando will be re-designed and dedicated to a temporary Louis Vuitton store-within-a-store. Conceived of as a celebration of LV's iconic monogram, the project was inspired by CDG designer Rei Kawakubo's memories of Louis Vuitton dating back to 1978 when they first opened a store in Japan.
While the luxurious image of French craftsmanship and art de vivre fascinated the young designer, it seemed, at the time, unattainable. Fast forward three decades. Kawakubo wanted to revisit her impressions and a collaboration with Vuitton was born: an exclusive collection of six one-off bags including a Papillion customized with kawaii animal charms; a Mini HL with multiple slender handles; two re-edited designs from the 70s, the Petit Marceau and the Sac 2 Poches (which she probably glimpsed in the windows of Japan's first Louis Vuitton store), and two Party bags, small evening purses with oversized leather handles.
"These are party bags to celebrate the 30 years of Louis Vuitton in Japan," explains Kawakubo. "In designing them, I have kept Louis Vuitton's traditional concept as it is, but sometimes two handles become one, sometimes two handles become eight... It has been a remarkably exciting opportunity for me to have been able to participate in Louis Vuitton's traditional design and heritage."
Although the six-bag collection will be on display in the minimalist space against a backdrop of historic LV trunks, they will only be available by special order. Customers must place their order in person at the Louis Vuitton at Comme des Garçons store - no telephone or Internet orders need apply - and in return, they will receive a special card holder in LV's traditional natural leather, embossed with the Louis Vuitton at Comme des Garçons signature. After several months, the bag(s) will be delivered to their Louis Vuitton store of choice. For those in need of instant gratification, iconic bags such as the Speedy and the Alma chosen by Kawakubo will be available for immediate sale.
"It is impossible to overstate Rei Kawakubo's influence on modern fashion. I find it wonderful to think that, thirty years ago, this immense talent, someone who has inspired so many others, was inspired by Louis Vuitton, and now that inspiration has now been realized," notes longtime CDG admirer Louis Vuitton Artistic Director, Marc Jacobs. "This project not only brings a new meaning to luxury, but also speaks volumes about how the know- how and heritage of Louis Vuitton have always been perceived in Japan, including by its foremost designers," adds Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton. "We are very proud to have been able to help Rei Kawakubo relive her memories in such an original and creative way."
Louis Vuitton at Comme des Garçons on Kottodori, Omotesando in Tokyo will take place from September 4th, 2008 through mid-December.
- Lesley Scott
(product images: Jean-Marc Cedile & Philippe Jumin)
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