Defacing The Monogram

April 26, 2011 • Yahoo


As Marc Jacobs hits nearly three decades in the design world, Second City Style takes a look at one of his most iconic collaborations.

Amanda Aldinger for Second City Style Magazine

Marc Jacobs’ birthday was a few weeks ago (48 years old!), and in the last three decades he’s been designing, he has arguably changed the face of fashion as we know it. Not only has he made notable contributions to men’s and women’s wear with his Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs collections, but his work as the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton has involved iconic collaborations with some of the world’s most important contemporary artists. Projects with Vanessa Beecroft, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Manolo Blahnik, Annie Leibovitz, and Jun Aoki remain notable amongst the hundreds of artists he has partnered with during his time at Vuitton, but without a doubt, one of Jacobs’ most acclaimed collaborations is his graffiti collection with Stephen Sprouse, and follow-up tribute collection in memoriam of the designer after he passed away in 2004.

It wasn’t until 1999, more than ten years after seeing Sprouse’s first collection, that Marc Jacobs began to play with the idea of manipulating the Louis Vuitton “LV” monogram. But rather than using his own design prowess and defacing the monogram himself, he conceptualized the idea and, instead, chose to use it as an opportunity for collaboration. “I had seen Charlotte Gainsbourg’s apartment and in this corner, she had this Vuitton suitcase, which I guess belonged to her dad, Serge, that had been painted black. And so that was in my head, this idea of covering up the monogram,” explained Marc Jacobs in a tribute book to Stephen Sprouse. The piece which sparked Jacobs’ desire to deface the monogram was that piece that started the entire Louis Vuitton brand in 1864: the trunk. “We could have hired a graphic artist,” said Jacobs, “but I wanted to use Stephen’s graffiti specifically because it meant something to me. Stephen as an artist, Stephen as a New York figure, Stephen and his style of graffiti. It had the credibility of street, but it also had this sort of style of somebody who was a fashion designer. So there was always this great integrity in his work.”

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