Only in Tokyo: Limited Edition Retro Louis Vuitton Bags

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The New York Sun

How far will you travel for a Louis Vuitton handbag? Well, if you want one of the limited edition bags designed by Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garçons, you’ll have to hop a flight to Tokyo.

Now through December, LVMH has a temporary shop set up within the Comme des Garçons store on Kottodori, Omotesando. And it is only there that shoppers can place an order for one of six designs. No phone or Internet orders are being taken. And there will be no buying in bulk: The shop is selling just one bag per person. What’s more, only when the shop closes will the orders be put into production; when finished, the bags will then be sent to the client’s Louis Vuitton shop of choice.

According to the chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, Yves Carcelle, the project originated when artistic director Marc Jacobs suggested a collaboration with Ms. Kawakubo. When the three met, she conveyed to Mr. Carcelle the cultural excitement and emotional surprise that Louis Vuitton caused when it first opened in Japan in 1978.

Mr. Carcelle’s goal then became to create a shopping experience that would spark a similar reaction. “It’s creating the sort of feeling that she had. Luxury is the combination of the product and the atmosphere where you buy it,” he said. “These bags were referring to the past in a hypermodern setting.”

All of the six designs use the classic LV logo print on brown canvas. “All of them are monogram because all of the bags were monogram at the time. We had not started to diversify,” Mr. Carcelle said.

Two of the bags — the Petit Marceau and the Sac 2 Poches — are renditions of designs from the 1970s that would have been in the Tokyo Louis Vuitton store when it opened. Two other bags are takeoffs on classic designs: Ms. Kawakubo added a spray of multiple handles to the Mini HL and animal charms to the Papillon. Lastly, the designer created two new bags for evening; with their long handles, they can hang from the shoulder without getting in the way of a cocktail glass.

Not only is the product a result of a collaboration, but the look of the temporary shop is, too. “The store is designed by her and run by us. It’s very modern — you enter a cube of glass,” Mr. Carcelle said. “It’s really for the fashionista who wants to capture that moment. If anyone is really interested, they will go to Japan.”


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