In recent weeks, the fashion world has been abuzz with news of some very special collaborations at Louis Vuitton. As the house’s signature motif since 1896, the iconic Monogram has appeared on everything from trunks to totes in all shapes and sizes; but never before in punch-bag form, as we have seen with Karl Lagerfeld’s take on the Icon and the Iconoclasts project.
Now you can swing by a Vuitton store near you for all your boxing needs, though of course the collection packs a powerful punch price-wise. Pick up a pair of patterned gloves for £3,700, a chain-handled carry-all for £2,230, or Karl’s knock-out creation; a full-size punching bag, complete with trunk-slash-travel closet, for a cool £69,000.
This move is much more about artistry, innovation, and, frankly, that little bit of PR that helps any business get by… and there’s nothing condemnable in that.
Of course, such an offbeat approach to high design was always going to carry controversy in its wake. Brit boxing champion Ricky Hatton seemed distinctly disgruntled by Lagerfeld’s offerings, tweeting, ‘The world’s gone f***ing mad’, and the general consensus on the web has very much been one of distaste; or just total bemusement as to who would have the cash to splash on- whisper it- such an unnecessary splurge.
However, in my view at least, these naysayers are totally missing the point. Not even the notoriously hard-headed German designer himself is truly expecting his showy take on a sporting basic to be a market hit; which is probably why only 25 will ever be made. No, this move is much more about artistry, innovation, and, frankly, that little bit of PR that helps any business get by… and there’s nothing condemnable in that.
As if further proof was needed, the fact you’re reading this article at all shows these pieces are generating serious goss… and, like it or not, preoccupation with publicity is part and parcel of the fashion world.
As if further proof was needed, the fact you’re reading this article at all shows these pieces are generating serious goss… and, like it or not, preoccupation with publicity is part and parcel of the fashion world. Promotions can make or break a label. Just think of those Chanel No. 5 ads with Nicole Kidman. No matter that they screened 10 years ago; I’ll bet you still remember them now, and they- completely single handedly- boosted sales by almost 16%. Yes, the bulk of Vuitton buys probably are coming from ordinary girls scrimping and saving for their first Speedy rather than punchbag-proceeds; but much as we might hate to admit it, for many people the draw of designer lies in its aspirational image… and what’s prominent in the press becomes instantly more iconic as an item.
Of course, the lure of top-notch craftsmanship doesn’t hurt either, and for those lucky few with the means to splurge on this very luxe sports gear, they’ll be getting that in droves. Taking between 6 and 12 months to build, the ‘Punching Trunk’ comes crafted with vintage cowhide trim and embossed with heritage brass hardware; all with removable shelving and hidden inner compartments. It’s a thing of beauty; and, being bang-on current trends, captures the A/W 2014-15 zeitgeist in a way that would make it a stunning piece of fashion history for any worthy- and admittedly, likely quite wealthy- collector. In promotional plugs Vuitton has lauded Lagerfeld for his ‘unerring knack for capturing the air du temps’, and he hasn’t failed here. Not only have all things sporty been huge in recent collections (think trainers finally featuring at the habitually refined Dior, as well as at Lagerfeld’s very own Chanel), but the trunk ties in to a general taste for the novel and, yes, the slightly wacky (see Moschino’s Maccy-D’s inspired offerings or the supermarket style, complete with £7,190 shopping basket, seen at- again- Chanel).
Of course, nobody could call them essentials… but on that basis you might as well disregard the entire high fashion industry, and, arguably, most other facets of art in general.
This leads me to my final thought on the punchbag-made-pretty and all the weird and wonderful designer dreamings of its ilk. In the midst of an industry that is typically viewed as a Devil Wears Prada-esque hotbed of staidness and snobbery, these kooky creations represent a vital hit of humour. Of course, nobody could call them essentials… but on that basis you might as well disregard the entire high fashion industry, and, arguably, most other facets of art in general. Ultimately, novelty designer pieces may be lavish, impractical and a tad quirky, but, above all, for true fashion fantatics they’re just a lot of fun, whether to ogle or to own… and what’s the matter with that?
Images: Luckymag.com, Harpersbazaar.com, Citywanderwalker.com, Adoreness.com