Louis Vuitton Revs Up Ads for Spring

Louis Vuitton's spring campaign has all the elements of an issue of Hot Rod magazine - albeit turbocharged with high glamour.

PARIS — Louis Vuitton’s spring campaign has all the elements of an issue of Hot Rod magazine — albeit turbocharged with high glamour.

This story first appeared in the December 14, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I thought the idea of hot chicks and cars was really cool — and very Richard Prince,” said Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs, unveiling color-drenched images of supermodels draped on Sixties muscle cars, a nod to Prince, the artist with whom Jacobs collaborated on Vuitton’s spring leather goods.

In fact, Prince volunteered his own 1970 Dodge Challenger for the shoot, the vehicle that made a splash at the Frieze art fair in London last October, where it revolved on a turntable along with a scantily dressed, chamois-wielding attendant in a work titled “Pure Thoughts.”

“I love it so much. It’s my favorite campaign,” enthused Jacobs as he gave an exclusive preview to WWD. The designer worked with Vuitton’s regular lensmen Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott and several of the models who opened his Vuitton show dressed as nurses, another recurring theme in Prince’s oeuvre.

Spreads featuring Stephanie Seymour and Eva Herzigova are slated to break in February magazines, followed by Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Angela Lindvall and Natalia Vodianova in subsequent months, each with their own candy-colored cars and handbags.

Antoine Arnault, Vuitton’s director of communications, declined to talk figures, but said Vuitton would spend more on the spring campaign than the fall one featuring Scarlett Johansson. It’s all in support of a collaboration Arnault spoke of in “Murakami-like” terms, referring to the firm’s 2002 blockbuster tie-up with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, who injected Vuitton’s famous monogram with a rainbow of colors — along with some eyeballs and cherry blossoms.

Vuitton also enlisted filmmaker Zoe Cassavetes to create a short “making-of” film about the supermodel campaign, shot over three days in a London studio. A teaser is slated to make its debut on Style.com starting Dec. 20, with the full three-minute segment posted on that site and louisvuitton.com on Dec. 28.

“We hope it’s going to bring traffic to our site,” Arnault said. “Everybody wants to be backstage.

“It is kind of groundbreaking to have six of the supermodels together,” Arnault continued, adding with a laugh that, “if [Jacobs] was managing the budget, he would have even taken 12.”

For his part, Jacobs said the shoot went well and felt like “old home week. Everyone was on their best behavior. There were no diva outbursts,” he said. “And as soon as they were on the set, you understood why these models became what they did. They have tons of charisma, personality and that star quality.”

Granted, having a half-dozen supermodels writhing on vintage vehicles in killer heels comes with hazards — and Prince’s car was the one that got dinged. “Luckily, Richard has a body shop and he was really cool about it,” Jacobs said.