“I do?” Nicole Kidman asked, cloistered in a quiet corner nook of the Modern’s bar room in New York. She was coated in red silk and her hair was done in bouncy cascading curls. “Well, that’s nice. I hardly feel like Jessica Rabbit,” she purred with cartoonish breathiness.
Kidman was an early arrival to the Louis Vuitton Celebrating Monogram dinner held at the Museum of Modern Art on Friday evening, a festive soiree thrown to mark the house’s 160th anniversary and to toast its ‘The Icon and the Iconoclasts,’ in which Vuitton tapped six icons — Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Newson, Rei Kawakubo, Cindy Sherman, Frank Gehry and Christian Louboutin — to reimagine the Vuitton monogrammed canvas in a series of pricy one-offs.
“I’m pretty impressed with what everyone’s designed, all of them really,” Kidman said diplomatically, when asked whose creation she favored. It was the go-to question of the night. “But, Christian Louboutin’s was my favorite.”
“Fantastique!” Louboutin exclaimed, giddy once news had traveled back. The designer had just arrived with his date, Ashley Olsen. The room was already brimming with the expected mix: the collaborators (with the exception of Rei, of course and Lagerfeld, on his way); the Vuitton heavyweights (Bernard and Delphine Arnault, Vuitton chairman and chief executive officer Michael Burke and Nicolas Ghesquière); and the pretty celebrity contingent (Kidman, Jennifer Connelly, Sofia Coppola, etc.). Will.i.am. showed up ostensibly to product plug, lilypadding circle by circle throughout the night (first stopping by Delphine Arnault and André Leon Talley, later Anna Wintour and Ghesquière and on and on) to show off PULS, his new wearable device.
“All six designers, we’re all so different so there’s no competition,” Louboutin went on to say. “It’s been fun for the six of us, I hope.”
Nearby, Gehry explained his approach. “The stuff I’ve been doing with buildings is twisting them so we thought we could do something like that. We tried it and they all loved it,” he said of his piece, a surrealist train case that looks like it got caught in a house of mirrors. “When you sit it down [on a table], the front edge, it tilts up at you. It’s like, ‘Come and get me baby.’”
Sherman was less forthcoming about her process. “Uh, I just thought of whatever I wanted,” she stammered while waiting for a beverage by the bar. “That’s how I did it.”
Chloë Sevigny, posted up against the glass partition toward the back of the room, also had had enough chatting. “Is this just an hour of press?” she hissed, then pausing to have a word with p.r. “I was just curious about the rundown because I wasn’t aware,” she said upon returning. “I was just asking how much longer the torture was going to commence for.” Then Lagerfeld arrived, signaling the end of cocktail hour. Sevigny must have been ecstatic.
“Boxing is now a sport for women too. I think the sport is becoming more and more popular. Women do it more then ever. I know tons of women who box, women who never thought they’d ever box,” Lagerfeld said of his reinterpretation, a boxing glove and punching bag set that reportedly tickets at $175,000 (it includes a luggage case, in case you want to box on the road?) “And Sebastian is a former boxer,” Lagerfeld went on, Sebastian Jondeau, his dashing bodyguard-turned-walker at his side. When, naturally, the question of whether the designer had taken a boxing class or two in his day, Lagerfeld shook his head. “No, no,” he said. “I know how to defend myself very, very well.” Jondeau grinned.