Since the sixties, French artist Daniel Buren has created work using the alternating placement of stripes, that create its own spatial awareness. Buren’s earlier works such as the Photo-Souvenir series, were concerned with the idea of repetition and reduction. These large painted striped canvases were the basis from which Daniel Buren continued to grow and develop his practice. Buren is synonymous with the vertical stripe. Today his work takes on a three-dimensional approach and is often created in situ, integrating the location’s characteristics into the work itself. Probably, Burens most well known art is his public sculpture Les Deux Plateau (TWO PLATEAUS), 1985-86. Sculpture in situ, Palais Royal, Paris. Here multiple black and white stripped columns are placed in the centre of squares which are created from an evenly marked grid whose dimensions were determined by the Galerie d’Orleans Colonnade.
It was this sculptural work at the Palais Royal, that inspired Marc Jacobs, creative director of Louis Vuitton, to approach Daniel Buren. The artist’s geometric concepts inspired the range for the Spring/Summer 2013 season. Marc Jacob pointed out that while the square and the grid are repeated images in Buren’s work, Louis Vuitton also have a history of using the geometric Damier motif in their designs. Buren was asked to create the Louis Vuitton set for the Spring/Summer 2013 Paris Fashion Week as well as the seasons advertising campaigns and window displays.
Paris Fashion Week is part of a global, bi-annual trade show held in the top five fashion capitals, New York, London, Milan, Paris and Berlin, attracting top fashion designers, buyers, media and fashionistas.
For the Louis Vuitton set, a giant tent was erected at the centre of the ‘Cour Carree’, the Louvre courtyard. It housed four escalators brought in especially for the show. Usually associated with shopping malls, these escalators acted as the entry point for the catwalk. The bright yellow stripped steps of the escalators led on to the bright yellow checkerboard floor. Apparent are both Burens’ signature vertical line and Louis Vuitton’s Damier monogram. The geometric grid pattern or the vertical line is not new or owned by anyone as artist, Daniel Buren will confirm,“No one is the owner of such a pattern and that is exactly why I like to use it as my vertical alternated stripes.”
The collaboration between artist and fashion designer is not new and can be traced back to the twentieth century and earlier. This mutually beneficial liaison between artist and designer is due to a shared appreciation of aesthetics, the formal visual elements of colour, form and texture amongst other things but mostly, due to fashions constant need for the ‘new’ or the ‘latest’ in order to generate sales. Art lends a certain depth and credibility to fashion and fashion brings in revenue that benefits the artist.
Woo, K 2013. Dazeddigital, weblog, viewed 8 August 2014, http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/15568/1/the-joy-of-sets-daniel-buren-on-building-louis-vuitton
Trochu, E 2013. Paris Vogue Fashion News, weblog, viewed 5 August 2014, http://en.vogue.fr/fashion/fashion-news/articles/artist-daniel-buren-creates-windows-for-louis-vuitton/17715
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