It’s a shame that practically the entire fashion world already knew about Supreme x Louis Vuitton before the house’s FW17 show last Friday. Seeing a red box logo hitting the runway at Le Palais Royale would have been by far and away the most jaw-dropping moment I’ve witnessed in my career in the fashion industry, had it not been completely expected.
Even so, it was clear that myself, the show’s attendees, and the thousands of people watching via Highsnobiety‘s Facebook stream, were witnessing history in the making when Louis V’s opening look — a two-piece suit paired with a red Supreme sidebag — first appeared.
Supreme x Louis Vuitton rips out the final brick in the wall that once separated streetwear from high fashion. The two worlds are now so co-dependent, feeding off each other every season, that they’re one and the same. Streetwear has been looking up at high fashion since Shawn Stussy made his own version of Chanel’s interlocked C logo, and luxury brands have been ripping off what they see on the streets for years.
The whole luxe-street thing is so commonplace that even Thom Browne makes sneakers these days. You see just as many box logos at fashion week as you do Gucci loafers and Vetements hoodies (another label that has helped obliterate the wall between high and low).
A few years ago, James Jebbia told Hypebeast that he wanted Supreme to be a global lifestyle brand “like Polo Ralph Lauren, but a fraction of the size.” His work with Louis Vuitton is the realization of that dream; like Ralph’s pony, the Supreme logo is now completely ubiquitous. And just like Polo, there are a lot of people who look great in it, and a lot of people who don’t.
It’s a shame to say it, because in terms of significance, it’s probably the most important collaboration ever, but both parties could have done much, much better than this. A ton of accessories covered in the Supreme logo, a bit of extremely ordinary luxe streetwear and some utterly hideous sunglasses are not what you’d expect from the most iconic name in streetwear and the world’s biggest luxury house.
Like Polo, Supreme is standard issue for an eclectic mix of customers. Polo for skaters, Polo for investment tycoons. Supreme for clued-up downtown creatives, Supreme for tourists. Polo, those awful seersucker shorts your dad wears, Polo, those gloriously over-the-top prep icons that the Lo Life gang immortalized in ’90s New York. Supreme, the icon of underground culture and utterly sublime collaborations, Supreme, that instant cringe that you get when you see someone wearing a shark face BAPE hoodie on top of a pair of YEEZYs.
When the Supreme x Jordan V was announced, we asked ourselves who Supreme could possibly work with next. Well, a year or so later, those doubts seem pretty stupid, because Supreme x Louis Vuitton has happened. Surely Polo is the only icon left that remains untouched by James Jebbia’s silent invasion of the fashion industry.
Supreme x Louis Vuitton is the last step in a journey that James Jebbia’s marque has made from underground cult brand to household name. It’s now present at all ends of the price spectrum: the kids lining up to buy $32 tees; the young professionals paying premium resell prices because they don’t want the hassle (and embarrassment) of lining up outside a shop or sitting by their computer at 11AM; and now via Louis Vuitton, the biggest luxury brand in the world, makers of thousand-dollar handbags and ostrich-skin bombers.
Where both brands have long histories in clever, iconic, beautiful design, they have also cultivated rabid consumerism; Supreme with its thriving reseller ecosystem, Louis Vuitton with its relentless retail expansion. Instead of celebrating the former, the duo has appealed to the latter.
Rather than a meeting of minds, Supreme x Louis Vuitton is low-hanging fruit, covered in obnoxious logos and with an inevitably massive price tag. It’s a set of tacky souvenirs for people to flaunt on Instagram and forget about a few weeks later.
I fucking hate those sunglasses already.
The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.
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- Main & Featured Image: Asia Typek / Highsnobiety.com