Another Louis Vuitton / Takashi Murakami collaboration may be upon us. Takashi Murakami says he is open to it. When asked by Forbes if he would collaborate with new Louis Vuitton menswear director, the collaboration-happy Virgil Abloh, on the heels of the pair’s relatively recent Gagosian London exhibition, the Japanese artist, replied, “Yes, if he offers me." Murakami, who embarked upon a 13-yearlong partnership with Louis Vuitton in the early 2000’s, further noted that he would “be very happy to come full circle with Louis Vuitton.”
Mr. Murakami was first enlisted by the Paris-based design house in 2002, and teamed up with then-womenswear director Marc Jacobs for a collection of “it” bags of the early aughts. From the inaugural Multicolore Monogram collection to the popular “Monogramouflage” range, which came several years later, the parties’ collaboration “was a revolutionary quid-pro-quo partnership, lifting Murakami from art world star to bona fide celebrity and galvanizing the staid French luxury house with a shot of cutting-edge culture,” as Artnet put it at the time.
Along with being some of the most coveted collections in fashion in the early to mid-2000’s, the Louis Vuitton / Murakami bags were also – unsurprisingly – some of the most heavily counterfeited, so much so that Louis Vuitton beat Diesel to the punch and set up its own play-on-the widespread availability of fakes on the opening night of the Takashi Murakami exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in April 2008.
Following a nearly 15-year run, fashion industry and art news outlets reporting during the summer of 2015 that Louis Vuitton had cut ties with famous artist in what was both a final goodbye to era of Marc Jacobs era, who left the brand in October 2013, and a fresh start for former Balenciaga creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, who was to become Jacobs’ successor.
While representatives for Louis Vuitton would not confirm a formal split, Murakmi’s signature flowers, cherries, panda, and eye graphics, as well as his colorful takes on the classic Louis Vuitton Toile monogram, have been absent since July 2015 when the final collaboration collection left stores. The brand has since taken to relying on Jeff Koons for an Old Masters-themed collaboration and the much-hyped Supreme range, of course.
Given both Louis Vuitton and Virgil Abloh’s well-known penchants for collaborations, it seems only fitting that Murakami might just be welcomed back into the fold in the not too distant future.