David Bowie does Louis Vuitton or Louis Vuitton is doing ”Bowie”? A mismatched collaboration.

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David Bowie photographer by David Sims for Louis Vuitton

David Bowie’s new Louis Vuitton campaign was something long-expected,and now that has been unveiled is leaving mixed feelings amongst Mr Bowie’s fan base, despite of all the enthusiasm of the fashion world.A print campaign in which Bowie co-stars alongside the brand’s Vivienne bag (!) and Tambour Evolution watch photographed by David Sims is the second stage of a whole campaign that was revealed last November .The idea of a short (three minute) film depicting the journey of the Vuitton woman and entitled L’Invitation Au Voyage, where Bowie stars opposite model Arizona Muse is set around a masked ball in Venice.The short film features Muse to land in Venice’s Piazza San Marco on nothing else than a hot air balloon plus being serenaded by Bowie in a magnificent venetian palazzo during a masked ball.

”David Bowie is an iconic artist,” a Louis Vuitton spokesperson told The Times. “He was seduced by the role we asked him to play and by the idea of re-orchestrating the song ”I’d Rather Be High.”

I honestly had thought that Bowie could work on a much better strategic plan to increase interest and sales regarding his latest,not-so-well received album than posing alongside Louis Vuitton’s Vivienne bag,let along star in a short film-turned tv commercial of dubious artistic value.In the end of the day,the part that’s actually profiting from such a collaboration in the long term is the House of Vuitton,that had lost credibility since Marc Jacob’s decision to leave the brand altogether.Therefore Bowie engages himself in a visual ”collaboration” of two iconic names,his own as a music legend and Louis Vuitton as a Fashion House.

The idea of setting the film around a masked ball in Venice, as part of the French fashion house’s ‘L’Invitation au Voyage’ campaign is no random choice.The idea of transforming images of oneself via a mask has been metaphorically part of Bowie’s visual agenda,building his myth as a performer that could change ”personalities” without even the use of ”masks”.Therefore an understandable but poor excuse in terms of aesthetics even though the film takes in great lengths to resemble the ”Labyrith” film surreal masked soirée,integrated into the 1986 cult film,-starring David Bowie of course.But that’s the only connection to the myth.

”I’d Rather Be High”, one of the tracks from Bowie’s first album for 10 years, The Next Day, will provide the soundtrack.So that is the reason why Bowie is doing what actually could have done decades earlier in a more fitting and convincing way!A concept that plays with the connotation of ”High” and the Louis Vuitton ”Invitation to travel”,(in a balloon as we’ve mentioned before).

To cut a long story short,both mega names are being profited by the collaboration-still not quite in the same way.Louis Vuitton takes huge credit for engaging one of the most iconic and influential performer of all times in this series of advertising material.Bowie gets people to listen to his new album by connecting his  ”I’d rather be high” track with such a powerful environment as fashion can only provide.Still,dear David,you needn’t have to do that-its not new,its not interesting,its not artistically justified.Preserving the name ”Bowie” and its legendary ”legacy” should have mattered more for you to star along star-of-the-season models playing the playboy lover.But that’s only what i think.

”I’d rather be high’‘ with your work David. I need no invitation for no fashion-related event unless its utterly perfect executed. And this just can’t be done with you posing along handbags,sorry.

Images from the short film released earlier this year.
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