The Musée du Louvre in Paris has teamed up with the Milan-based fashion label, Off-White to come up with a collection that pays homage to Leonardo da Vinci. The partnership focusses on the role of Virgil Abloh – an American fashion designer, DJ and the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection – in the context of the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death. The famous artist is, perhaps, best known for the ‘Mona Lisa’ and his ‘Vitruvian Man’ drawing, the latter being one of the most iconic sketches in any art gallery’s collection in the world. The project brings together a noted genius with one of the edgiest fashion designers on the planet who is also an artist in his own right.
Abloh, who is often described as a cultural disturber, has a track record of stirring up the role fashion has to play within the wider cultural scene since he launched his Off-White label seven years ago. It has come as no surprise to many in the gallery sector that as soon as the Louvre decided to mark the anniversary of the Renaissance image-maker’s passing with a fashion collection that Abloh would be chosen as the ideal candidate for the job.
Under Abloh’s directorship, Off-White has produced a widespread collection that includes hoodies, t-shirts and sweatshirts that bring some great artworks by Leonardo da Vinci to life. The idea is that the garments will draw attention to the creative genius of da Vinci to coincide with the Louvre’s seminal exhibition which will be devoted to the artist later this month. All of the pieces that have been designed for the capsule collection make use of one of da Vinci’s famous paintings or sketches and feature the ever-present Off-White brand logo, too.
Image: Off White
Choosing the Right Sort of Images
For the collection, two works have featured more than any others. Da Vinci’s ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’ which was painted in the 1480s is in the Louvre’s collection and has been given the Off-White treatment. The other main image selected by Abloh for his fashion designs was ‘Saint Anne’, a big figure in some Islamic traditions as well as certain Christian faiths. This image dates back to about 1503 and is well-known for its later interpretation by Sigmund Freud among others. Why the 39-year-old Abloh decided to use these da Vinci images as source material is not fully known but they appeared to offer the right sort of accessibility to a mass market.
“I want to crash together the two worlds [of Renaissance art and fashion],” Abloh said of his collaboration with the Louvre. “[They]… are seemingly different but it is a crucial part of my overall body of work to prove that any place, no matter how exclusive it may seem, is open to all,” he added. Abloh went on to tell the press that he thought da Vinci was probably the first artist who lived according to those principles, something that he was trying to achieve in his own work in the twenty-first century. “I wanted to work with pieces that a wider audience perhaps has not been so exposed to,” he said.
The Artistic and Fashion Collections
The Louvre boasts no fewer than 22 drawings and sketches in its permanent collection that are attributed to Da Vinci, notably the much-visited ‘Mona Lisa’, of course. The exhibition devoted to one of the greatest artists of all time will open to the public on February 24th. Meanwhile, the Musée du Louvre’s Off-White collection is currently available to purchase. Shoppers can obtain their da Vinci-inspired clothing via the Louvre’s online store or from its gift shop at the Parisian site. The Off-White website is selling the collection, too, and it can also be purchased in person from the fashion label at either its Paris or Milan shop. The garments are priced anywhere between €320 to €500.