Mark July 17 on your calendar. That’s the day Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with cult New York skatewear brand Supreme hits stores, in what is likely to unleash some retail hysteria.
Items from the highly anticipated partnership were the stars of the Vuitton men’s wear show, held in a transparent tent in the Palais-Royal gardens in front of guests including David Beckham, Kate Moss and James Marsden, whose 16-year-old son Jack is a rabid fan of both brands.
“My son is obsessed with Supreme and now to see them doing this collaboration with Louis Vuitton was a very, very welcome surprise. Sadly, it’s going to take a large bite out of my wallet very soon,” the “Westworld” star said after the show.
Cobranded goods — ranging from a bright red fanny pack to a denim jacquard baseball shirt — peppered the collection, which Kim Jones, men’s artistic director at Vuitton, said he was inspired by New York art stars of the early Eighties such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol.
“The idea is people that wore very luxurious clothes but in a very louche way,” he said in a preview. “It’s sort of Ivy League gone relaxed — a kid that’s come to the city and discovered this scene and then stolen his dad’s clothes.”
Oversized coats, long sweaters, sneakers and slouchy pants made for a casual attitude, inspired by Basquiat’s penchant for mixing designer clothes with thrift store finds — only some of the outerwear was worth the price of a painting.
Made-to-order items like a vicuña trenchcoat or a shearling-lined crocodile jacket will set shoppers back more than $100,000, Jones revealed. The (only slightly) more accessible versions included a woven leather and mohair coat in a glossy herringbone motif, and another in superplush lasered shearling.
Pajama shirts featuring collages of Vuitton advertising images from the Thirties were a reference to Schnabel, while a camouflage jacquard weaving together the Supreme logo and Vuitton’s monogram nodded at Warhol’s self-portraits.
Jones said that featuring such luxurious items alongside Supreme cardholders and handkerchiefs was a conscious decision.
“The fact that it crosses a lot of different generations is important for Vuitton, because we have such a vast demographic,” said the designer, who has worked for labels ranging from Dunhill to Topman. “I know every single part, from high to low, and I think that’s what people shop like now.”
Because money is no object for some of the label’s fans, Jones produced a canvas and Perspex case housing a Technics turntable.
“Lots of my friends that DJ are going back to using vinyl rather than CDs or MP3s, so I thought it was just really chic to do one,” said the designer, who estimated he owns 4,000 records. “I imagine we’ll probably sell quite a lot, because how much DJs earn nowadays is quite insane.”