NEW YORK — Like the artist and designer who inspired the new collection, Louis Vuitton is heading downtown for its new Stephen Sprouse collection.
This week, the company’s boutique on SoHo’s Greene Street will be transformed into a Sprouse destination in time for the collection’s arrival.
This story first appeared in the January 6, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“SoHo is a special place for the entire launch of the Sprouse collection,” said Daniel Lalonde, Louis Vuitton North America president and chief executive officer. “It’s in the proximity of where Stephen Sprouse hung out, so we are going to give the entire store a Stephen Sprouse feel. It will have a lot of reminders of Stephen Sprouse. We will be giving it a new identity.”
For instance, the company is wrapping the store in vinyl and spray painting neon graffiti all over the facade. The window display will feature a 6-foot neon light installation in Sprouse’s Rose motif. The store’s interior, enhanced with black brick wall facing, will also be sprayed with the neon graffiti.
The collection will launch in its entirety at the SoHo boutique on Thursday. The complete worldwide launch will follow on Feb. 2, though the Rose pieces will be available at Louis Vuitton stores worldwide starting Friday.
For the launch, the luxury goods company is also creating two limited edition pieces, which will only be available at the SoHo location: a Stephen Sprouse graffiti skateboard replete with a hard case monogram skateboard trunk, and a Stephen Sprouse “Roses” T-shirt. The company hopes to sell three graffiti skateboards with trunks for $8,250 each, and 70 T-shirts for $250 each. “I don’t expect them to last very long,” Lalonde said. “By Friday, there probably won’t be any more left.”
Proceeds will benefit Free Arts NYC, which provides underserved children throughout New York City with special arts programs. Vuitton is also making an undisclosed donation to the Sprouse Estate, as well as the Stephen Sprouse Memorial Scholarship Fund at the National Academy for Design here.
Sprouse became known in the Eighties for his graffiti art and fashion designs. In 2001, Vuitton artistic director Marc Jacobs collaborated with Sprouse and created an instant must-have accessories collection with the Monogram Graffiti collection. Sprouse died in 2004, and Vuitton made its first donation to the fund in 2006 when Jacobs created a scarf in Sprouse’s honor, using one of the collaboration’s leopard prints.
Vuitton will honor the late artist with three events this Thursday. The night will kick off with cocktails at the Vuitton boutique on Greene Street, with a simultaneous event at nearby Deitch Projects’ Wooster Street Gallery for the opening of the “Rock on Mars” Sprouse retrospective. Afterwards, Vuitton and Jacobs will host a bash at the Bowery Ballroom, featuring a performance by Sprouse’s friend Debbie Harry, followed by DJ Jus Ske. The venue is expected to have a Sprouse feel, with a special graffiti-and-neon decor.
“It’s something new from Vuitton to start the year off,” Lalonde said of the collection. “The product, design, and expression are uplifting and rejuvenating. That’s the feel we try to provide for the evening and for the collection.”