When Louis Met Marc: Paris Fashion with an American Accent


In an upcoming exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris fashion meets New York know-how.
Marc Jacobs has always been about the merging of art with fashion. First it was music. His runway tribute to grunge, showing ripped jeans and oversize flannel shirts on the catwalk, may have famously got him sacked from Perry Ellis, but his friendships and collaboration with underground musicians have remained. In contrast to his experience at Ellis, at Louis Vuitton his partnerships with visual artists, such as Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami, François Cadière and Richard Prince, have been a huge success, and have helped transform Vuitton into the fashion brand most closely associated with the art world.


Photo: Courtesy Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

This marriage of art and fashion has inspired the Musée des Arts Décoratifs to launch “Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs,” a major exhibition that tells the story of both men. It will explore the relationship between a humble Victorian trunk maker who went on to head one of the world’s best-know luxury leather goods companies and a shy, diminutive Jewish boy from New York who transformed a once conservative business into an haute couture powerhouse in just over a decade. The museum aims to demonstrate how each of these two iconic men contributed to reshaping fashion history in their own manner.
In the gallery, covering two floors and curated by acclaimed fashion writer Pamela Golbin, Vuitton’s iconic leather trunks will be displayed alongside Jacobs’s most celebrated designs for the French label. In synch with the epochs of its two subjects, the show will focus on two distinct periods in history: the time of the Industrial Revolution and today’s modern era of globalized fashion. 

Photo: Courtesy Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

But for how long will Jacobs be associated with the Vuitton brand? Golbin was mum on the subject of Jacobs’s possible defection to Dior, but given the rumors that Dior was eager to hire Mr. Jacobs, we may interpret the museum’s spring show as being an attempt to even further consolidate Jacobs with the house of Vuitton.
That said, it seems Jacobs has no plans to leave. This month, he told Vogue magazine: “I am at Vuitton, and I am very happy there. . . . I don’t know; maybe someday in the future, maybe years from now, I may end up going someplace else, maybe Dior. But right now I am at Vuitton, and all that matters to me is that that’s where I am and I’m going to keep doing my thing.”
Art and fashion lovers alike dearly hope he does.
“Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs” will be on view at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs from March 9 to September 16, 2012.

Related Link
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Editor’s note: Have you downloaded our walk-and-shop-the-Marais trip yet? It’s available as a pdf and as an iPhone app.