In the world of weekly drop cycles, pieces dropped in February can feel seasons, if not years, old. Somehow, Supreme’s history-making collaboration with Louis Vuitton in 2017 feels both like it came out last month and ten years ago. The collection has firmly held onto its relevance and can still be seen semi-regularly, gracing the likes of Hailey Bieber, Odell Beckham Jr., and Travis Scott. While the collaboration has come and gone, the story behind its inception and release is one of the most interesting Supreme partnerships in recent history and has had massive implications for both brands moving forward. Scroll down to check out the full collection, the Louis Vuitton Runway Show, the Supreme Lookbook, and more.
While Supreme x Louis Vuitton was an understandable surprise to fans and spectators of both brands, those who know the history of the two were likely surprised for different reasons. Supreme is no stranger to collaboration, and for the most part, fans of the brand are prepared for collabs more often than not. For Louis Vuitton, however, collaboration and specifically the alteration of their famous Monogram has been widely avoided. Even former Creative Director Marc Jacobs was criticized, and his design was met with skepticism in 2008 when he famously “defaced” the LV Monogram with art by the late designer, Steven Sprouse, which up until that point had not been done.
Before Marc Jacobs’ defacing of the Monogram, Louis Vuitton was known to be fiercely strict about their intellectual property, and it was a cease and desist letter from Louis Vuitton to Supreme seventeen years before their official collaboration that would begin the brand’s relationship. Well-known for ripping logos, Supreme produced a capsule of tees, beanies, and skate decks featuring a modified version of the Louis Vuitton monogram pattern. Just two weeks after shipping, Supreme received their cease and desist as well as an order to burn ALL of the goods to keep them out of circulation. According to a Highsnobiety article, it appears Supreme only received a cease and desist and was not sued in any official court of law due to their cooperation.
Fast forward nearly two decades and Louis Vuitton reaches out to Supreme, now interested in collaborating. Often given credit for the collaboration is Kim Jones, the former Men’s Artistic Director at Louis Vuitton and current Men’s Creative Director at Dior. However, it was Louis Vuitton CEO and Chairman, Micheal Burke, who proposed the collaboration to Jones. Given his interest and prior ties to streetwear culture (Jones once worked at a shop that stocked Supreme), Jones would move the project forward, telling WWD that this was “the logical response.” The result culminated in an FW17 Men’s Runway in January 2017 that was preceded by countless rumors, including the suggestion that Louis Vuitton was interested in buying Supreme. While that story ended up being false, rumors of the collaboration, sparked by James Jebbia’s attendance at a 2016 Louis Vuitton Show, turned out to be correct as the co-branded apparel, shoes, and accessory collection graced the runway on January 19th, 2017.
Post Paris Fashion Week, fans of Supreme waited for the release that would come sometime ahead of the FW17 season. Chaos ensued on the internet where every other week someone was reporting a new price list or dropping leaked photos. No official word was delivered until late June 2017, when Supreme dropped their official lookbook as well as product photos for each piece (totaling more than 60 items). It was then announced that the collection would be released via several specific stores, some in the US and some international. What ended up happening was likely not the desired outcome for the two brands. While it may have seemed that things went off without a hitch as Sydney, Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Paris, London, Miami, and Los Angeles released on time, one key location, maybe the most anticipated, was held up. Supreme was unable to release the collection in New York after the City of New York’s Community Board No. 2 unanimously voted the product release.
Since the release, the collection has become extremely coveted, with resale prices through the roof. Both brands have also taken massive strides forward, with Supreme winning a CFDA Award and securing an investment valuing them at a billion dollars. Louis Vuitton has maybe changed even more. As Kim Jones has moved to Dior and Virgil Abloh has taken his spot making the streetwear, and high fashion collaboration of Supreme x Louis Vuitton seem commonplace. While we don’t know for sure, it looks as if Supreme x Louis Vuitton could have been a potential proof of concept for Virgil’s takeover and the full blurring of the line between street and luxury. In all reality, how much different was the Supreme x Louis Vuitton Collaboration and drop model from what we’re now seeing Mr. Abloh create for LV?
Shop a selection of Supreme x Louis Vuitton, and the entire Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration can be shopped on StockX here.