When I first saw Takashi Murakami's work, I smiled and wondered, Where did this explosion come from? Who was responsible for this collision of psychedelia, manga and, well, art? Then I thought, I would love it if the mind that imagined this dizzying world of jellyfish eyes, singing moss, magic mushrooms and morphing creatures would be willing to have a go at the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram.
So I e-mailed Takashi. And he answered. Before long, there he was, standing in my Paris office, wearing his round, wire-rimmed glasses, skeleton-print T shirt, baggy short pants and a sort of samurai ponytail. He looked like a cool skater kid, an eternal teenager.
He and his crew, with total respect for Vuitton's heritage, were eager to contribute to the creation of a new chapter.
How we would proceed in our collaboration was set forth by Takashi, 46. We would have a game of "catch ball," throwing ideas and images back and forth, usually over e-mail, until we were both satisfied. Our first agreed-upon work was a straightforward interpretation of Vuitton's traditional monogram. What had once been set in brown with gold symbols was now alive in 33 clashing colors against a jet black or optic white background. With a bit more throwing of the ball, each symbol within the monogram would soon have its very own identityeven the LV would eventually be entwined in moss and sprout hands.
Our collaboration has produced a lot of works and has been a huge influence and inspiration to many. It has been and continues to be a monumental marriage of art and commerce. The ultimate crossoverone for both the fashion and art history books.
The best part is that it continues, it grows, it morphs and still excites. Our efforts have come full circle. And I get to keep playing this game of catch ball with a great artistand friend.
Jacobs is artistic director of the French design house Louis Vuitton
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