NEW YORK — Another American in Paris? You bet, and he’s visiting Louis Vuitton.
After several joint sightings about Paris, Marc Jacobs has confirmed that Stephen Sprouse is working with him on prints and fabrics for the upcoming spring collection. But if you’re thinking yet more Eighties, according to Jacobs, don’t. “This has nothing to do with old references,” he said on Thursday. “I have always been a big fan of Stephen’s, his art, his painting and his fashion, and I still am.”
Since June, Sprouse has been in Paris several times, and Jacobs said the two have hit it off. “The great thing about Vuitton is that it’s not my name, and it’s a real luxury that I can feel free to bring other people in on a collaborative basis,” he said. “At Vuitton we’re working on this luggage icon, one with no archive of clothes. It’s fun to keep bringing something fresh, and the way to do that is by bringing in fresh people.”
As for artistic or temperamental differences — no problem. “All designers, all artists have egos,” Jacobs said. “But it hasn’t been a problem. Working with Stephen has been a dream, and I don’t mean just the two of us, but Stephen, me and the whole Vuitton team. There’s great respect. I idolized him and his work.”
Asked whether a graffiti motif — one of Sprouse’s signatures — is in the air, Jacobs refused to get specific, saying that the excitement of fashion is in the unexpected. But he acknowledged that some kind of lettering theme is inevitable. “We do have the LV monogram, and we’ll reinterpret that in some way.”
Jacobs said the notion of working with Sprouse has been brewing for a couple of years, back when he was looking for apartments and saw Charlotte Gainsborough’s. She had an old Vuitton of her father’s that he had customized in some way that reminded Jacobs of Sprouse’s work.
Exactly how that inspiration will translate on the runway remains to be seen. But repeating a basic tenet of his fashion philosophy, Jacobs noted that ultimately, the intriguing bait of a Jacobs-Sprouse collaboration alone won’t catch any fish. “In the end, someone will buy a bag or a printed dress because she wants it,” he said. “She won’t buy the concept, she won’t buy the theory or the inspiration or the name. She’ll buy an item because she loves it.”

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