The Genteel
April 12, 2021


Louis Vuitton post cards designed by François Cadiere. (Source:

Museums and art galleries have long understood that people want to own unique works of art, but most simply can't afford to. The typical solution has been to imprint T-shirts, postcards and posters with reproductions of popular artworks. Shifts in consumer expectations, however, have meant that discerning shoppers are demanding unique products designed by artists; something more personal that communicates the essence of an artist's spirit.

Cadiere belts a Louis Vuitton trench.
(Photograph courtesy of Louis Vuitton)

With his finger constantly on the cultural pulse, Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton has picked up on this mood, as demonstrated through his collaborations with artistic heavyweights Stephan Sprouse and Takashi Murakami, both of whom have created designs for Vuitton handbag. Sylvie Fleury was commissioned to translate her metallic sculptural style onto purses (also seen in Jacobs' own line), and Jacobs collaborated with artist Richard Prince for LV's S/S 2008 collection. Now, the House of Vuitton is offering the works of another great artist - François Cadiere.

For Louis Vuitton, Cadiere has focused his creative talents on textile design. The photographer, illustrator and master collage artist hand painted patterns and borders on scarves that weave a spectacle of torn, superimposed posters illustrated in a kaleidoscope of pinks, blues and reds. Much of the collection was inspired by the streets of Berlin and Paris, the two cities in which the Belgian-born artist currently divides his time. He hopes the abstract prints of his shawls and scarves will allow wearers to set off on a trip that needs no Vuitton luggage: an "inner voyage" whereby they project their own vision and meaning onto the patterns of the textiles. 

Cadiere himself is as quirky as you'd expect an artist to be - for example, he paradoxically claims to find inspiration in "harmony in disharmony", but emphasizes there is no better inspiration than love. And fortunately for him, he says with a cheeky wink, he is quite sure there is a particular "love" of his own on the horizon, which seems to not only inspire his work, but his near-permanent smile as well.

Scarf designed by Cadiere.
(Photograph courtesy of Louis Vuitton)

Not surprisingly, Cadiere is a very sweet, playful personality, which seems to reveal itself in the gentle colours and whimsical designs of his artwork. In his typically humble manner, he was emphatically grateful to Jacobs for "giving [him] enough freedom to do whatever [he] wanted" and actually enjoyed the process of collaboration almost more so "than working on art alone".

Indeed, he seems to believe that compared to fashion, the art world is a bit static these days: "I think art and fashion are similar, but the energy and essence of each is different. At the moment, [the art scene] has lost its energy; it's no longer as closely in contact with people as fashion is. Fashion is closer to the people on the street, it's more connected," he stated.

Yet, it does seem at least some people on the street are still interested in art, and marrying it to fashion makes clothing more interesting and art more accessible. From the graffiti art decorating a Sprouse bag to the inspiring prints on a Cadiere designed scarf, the best little art gallery in town could very well be found in our own closets.



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