One of the most highly anticipated brand mash-ups of the year, a collaboration between French luxury label Louis Vuitton and New York-based streetwear brand Supreme, won’t officially launch for another few weeks, but some pieces from the capsule collection are available starting today at eight pop-up shops around the globe, including one in downtown Los Angeles.
The pre-launch pop-up, located at 833 E. 3rd St. in the downtown Arts District (just near the Shinola and 3.1 Phillip Lim stores), is scheduled to open for business at 8 a.m. today, according to a Louis Vuitton representative. But beyond that, details such as how much of the capsule collection will be included in the pre-launch push or when the pop-up will “pop down” are in short supply.
That’s pretty much standard operating procedure for the 23-year-old skate-inspired Supreme label, which, by keeping product release details under wraps, has managed to turn limited-edition product drops into full-fledged retail feeding frenzies that routinely generate blocks-long lines in front of its boutiques (including the label’s Fairfax Boulevard store) of enthusiastic potential customers.
Helping stoke that demand is a deep bench of celebrity fans including Kylie Jenner, Drake, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Lady Gaga and Rihanna (with the last two also appearing in ad campaigns for the brand).
The collaboration itself isn’t a secret, though. Pieces from the capsule collection came down the Paris runway in January as part of Louis Vuitton’s luxury-American-sportswear-themed fall/winter 2017 men’s runway show. And, based on the runway images, fashion reports and social media postings coming out of the show, the assortment of co-branded merchandise covers ready-to-wear, leather goods, small leather goods, sneakers and accessories categories.
An allover pattern that melds Supreme’s box logo with the Louis Vuitton monogram and quatrefoil design appeared on washed-down Japanese denim jacquard shirts (including one in a baseball-jersey silhouette) and bandannas on the runway. Photos posted to Supreme’s Instagram account the same day revealed the design also cropped up on a red-and-white leather jacket and accented the sides of a gleaming white pair of Louis Vuitton sneakers.
Accessories included iPhone cases and bottle-opener-shaped keychains, and the deep bench of leather goods included card cases, portfolios, wallets, fanny packs and duffel bags in Louis Vuitton’s textured Epi leather, the most eye-catching of which were rendered in Supreme’s familiar white-on-red box logo color combination.
At first blush, the partnership might seem like an odd one, especially because Supreme, which has its roots in New York skate culture (founder James Jebbia opened his store on Lafayette Street in 1994), has a long history of appropriating the logos and intellectual property of others, including that of Louis Vuitton, which felt compelled to send a cease-and-desist letter to Supreme back in 2000 when the latter started making LV-logoed skateboard decks. (On a side note, the red-and-white colors and Futura Bold Oblique typeface of Supreme’s logo was originally cribbed from the work of conceptual artist Barbara Kruger.)
But, in a meta way, this venture actually feels like the logical endgame — a collaborative ouroboros, if you will, where a luxury label swallows its own tail by partnering with a streetwear brand whose popularity is due, in large part, to co-opting the work of luxury labels.
L.A.’s Arts District space is one of just two Louis Vuitton X Supreme pop-ups opening in the U.S. today, according to a Louis Vuitton representative. (The other is in Miami.) These West Coast/East Coast pop-ups join temporary pre-launch boutiques in Sydney, Australia; Tokyo; Seoul; Beijing; London; and Paris. The capsule collection officially launches in select Louis Vuitton boutiques worldwide in mid-July along with the rest of the fall/winter 2017 men’s collection.
Louis Vuitton in collaboration with Supreme Pop-Up, 833 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. After its initial weekend, the pop-up shop will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Additional information available at louisvuitton.com.
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For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me at @ARTschorn.