It may be a bit early for holiday shopping but that didn’t stop guests from adding to their wish lists at Louis Vuitton’s Celebrating Monogram dinner, held on November 7th at the Museum of Modern Art in honor of the six iconoclasts chosen to reinterpret a timeless icon of style and create their very own piece using the instantly recognizable Louis Vuitton canvas. Participants Cindy Sherman, Christian Louboutin, Marc Newson, and Karl Lagerfeld were all on deck to celebrate the collaboration as were artistic director of women’s collections Nicolas Ghesquière and Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO Michael Burke. “It was carte blanche for the artists,” Burke explained, “So, it was interesting to see how they would enter into a tango with something that was there before them and will be there long after we’re gone—how do you dance with eternity?”
This must have been the question on everyone’s lips as eager attendees including Michelle Williams, Karlie Kloss, Lil Buck, and Larry Gagosian took a peek at the goods. From the looks of it, the talented group proved more than up to the task, though Frank Gehry did admit to the challenge of moving from skyscrapers to handbags, “Well, they had already set the bar pretty high.”
“I love Karl’s boxing gloves!” André Leon Talley announced as he walked the red carpet with will.i.am, draped in a burgundy cape by Public School. (Lagerfeld, who referenced boxing in his fall 2014 campaign for Chanel, would later clarify that in addition to being the ultimate luxury, his designs were also practical: “Women have to kick the asses of the men too, you know!”)
Meanwhile, supermodel Stephanie Seymour, an avid art collector, had her eye on Cindy Sherman’s “Studio in a Trunk.” “It’s my Christmas dream!” she admitted. “I did a pen campaign for Vuitton in the ’90s and I didn’t want to get paid, I just wanted luggage. They gave me one of the big trunks, and I had my monogram put on them. I really cherish them now.”
Fresh from the CMA Awards, Nicole Kidman flew in for the occasion looking every bit the Hollywood glamazon in a second skin of embellished red silk. Ashley Olsen also joined the Friday night festivities toting a studded handbag designed by her date Christian Louboutin, alongside whom she posed for pictures in a pop-up portrait studio manned by Patrick Demarchelier. The French front arrived in the form of Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Adèle Exarchopoulos, who greeted American friends with saluts and ça vas.
From models to muses, artists to actresses, attendees swapped stories about their first forays into the world of Vuitton and discussed the famed monogram over coupes de champagne. “Louis Vuitton is synonymous with adventure,” mused Jennifer Connelly who arrived with husband Paul Bettany wearing a sequined red minidress from longtime friend Nicolas Ghesquière’s spring collection. Sofia Coppola, also wearing the brand, seemed to agree: “I think of fantasy but also of travel and glamour.” For Chloë Sevigny, who wore a playful white minidress from the house and a patchwork leather handbag, the famous initials evoked a very special someone: “Lil’ Kim! I always think of Lil’ Kim because she took it to the next level which she often does.”
Before ducking into dinner, actress Mia Goth expanded on the power of the monogram, explaining,
“It’s a very universal brand but at the same time it’s very personal and I love how intricate that relationship is.” Actress Melissa George agreed, reminiscing, “My first purchase when I started to be an actress was a Louis Vuitton scarf. I was only sixteen years old, and I wanted to buy something that really carried meaning—something that said, ‘I’m making it.’ To me that was Louis Vuitton.”