2000 was a different time. Fashion brands mostly kept to themselves. Collaborations were rare. So when streetwear brand Supreme decided they wanted to produce skate decks riffing on Louis Vuitton's famous monogram they didn't ask permission. They just did it. For their troubles, as the story goes, they were served up a strongly worded cease and desist letter from Louis Vuitton's lawyers and were forced to issue a recall.
Seventeen years later, with unlikely collaborations all the rage, Supreme and Louis Vuitton have put the past behind them and officially collaborated. Yes, the French fashion house's menswear collection featured many items featuring the New York skate brand's logo.
Nevermind that it was the worst keep secret in fashion over the past few weeks. The extent of the collaboration was still a surprise. It wasn't just a few items, but rather a wide collection of bags, jerseys, sneakers, bandanas, hats and other items.
The rumors were tipped off at Louis Vuitton's last men's show when James Jebbia, Supreme's founder, was spotted in the front row. Kim Jones, Louis Vuitton's menswear designer, has with everyone from Uniqlo to McQueen. His former line with sportswear brand Umbro was also a particular favorite amongst hype beats of yore.
“You can’t have the conversation of New York men’s wear without Supreme right now, because it’s such a massive global phenomenon,” Jones said in a preshow interview with WWD.
“I used to work when I was at college unpacking boxes of Supreme at a company in London that distributed it when it was just starting out, so it’s something I’ve known all along in my life. I just feel that the strength of their graphic versus the strength of the Louis Vuitton graphic, and that kind of Pop Art feeling — it works together perfectly."
We're also living in a time where men whose closet are littered with streetwear prefer to touch of an outfit with a designer edge and vice versa. The collaboration is basically a confirmation of how so many fashion-savvy men already dress. So items from the collections are destined to be spotted everywhere from street style shots to hip hop music videos to high-end editorials when they're released in June through Vuitton's store (and, possibly, some pop-up locations).
As for the fake skate decks that started the saga? Yes, the collaboration does finally include an authorized LVxSupreme deck.
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