Collaborations have become so omnipresent in luxury fashion that it’s hard to remember there was once a time when such a partnership was rare and almost unheard of. Now, in 2020, it is almost more common than not for luxury brands to introduce limited-edition capsules.
Collaborations come in many forms—sometimes they’re brand on brand (think Dior and Nike), other times they’re art related, like Fendi’s recent partnership with artist Joshua Vides and sometimes a brand’s creative ventures include of-the-moment musical artists like Coach’s work with Selena Gomez. And though high fashion is no stranger to these kinds of realtionships, there’s one brand that’s arguably the pioneer when it comes to brand partnerships, and that’s Louis Vuitton.
While we’re mainly discussing 21st century-era collaborations, it’s worth noting that Louis Vuitton has been sharing its creative approach since its heyday, working on a myriad of special orders for the rich and the who’s who of society. It’s that open approach to its creative processes that set the stage for the modern-day partnerships we’re discussing.
No stranger to the dialogue and communication that comes with sharing a design process with someone else, Louis Vuitton has produced a multitude of capsule collections over the years. And while there are many reasons why a brand chooses to execute a partnership (from the opportunity to reach a new customer base to reinvigorating a brand and beyond), few have carried out collaborations with such ease as Louis Vuitton.
One of the brand’s most notable (and unlikely) pairings was the brand’s 2017 collection in partnership with skate brand Supreme. The collection of RTW and accessories was released to massive fanfare, resulting in an equally large success rate, selling out across the world and resulting in an increased revenue of 21 percent that year, according to WWD.
Other notable partnerships include collections with artists such as Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, Jeff Koons and more. Though few partnerships were as widely beloved and coveted as those with late artist Stephen Sprouse during creative director Marc Jacobs’ tenure at Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton x Stephen Sprouse’s collection was first introduced for spring/summer 2001, featuring an insanely cool reimagined monogram print. LV fans immediately fell in love with the monogram graffiti created by Sprouse and Jacobs. The dynamic duo’s partnership was a hit, and in 2009 Jacobs once again partnered with the artist posthumously, paying homage to Sprouse with a collection of products adorned with beautiful, vibrant roses. Based on a sketch of a rose that Sprouse first drew when working with Jacobs on the first collaboration, the result was a beautifully poetic tribute to Stephen Sprouse himself, who died of cancer in 2004.
The Roses collection features some of the rarest and most sought-after Louis Vuitton bags of our time, and unlike the brand’s Multicolore Monogram bags, which were an equally as coveted collaboration with Takashi Murakami, the Roses collection never appeared dated or overplayed. The beautiful, coveted bags still solicit sales that are way beyond market value, over 10 years after the collection’s release, cementing this collaboration as one of the brand’s best.