In an industry where fashion and art often collide, it’s hard not to think of Louis Vuitton. The brand has been busy blazing trails in this way in the last few years, opening an art museum outside of Paris in 2014 that would eventually lead to a collaboration with Beijing-based Ullens Center for Contemporary Art for an exhibition of Chinese contemporary artists. Art&Business magazine called the brand’s “love affair” with art one of the most “amorous,” highlighting the fact that over the years, Louis Vuitton has had partnerships with artists from around the world in exchange for using designs in its collection.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Louis Vuitton has sponsored a five-part documentary series on China’s CCTV9 that stars women who have been key figures on the international stage of fine arts. Titled in Chinese Journey of a Muse and Craft a Destiny in English, each episode of the series follows a different woman on the road to self-discovery. These include Chinese supermodel Liu Wen; Karen Blixen, the Danish author best known for the novel Out of Africa about her life in Kenya; Yayoi Kusama, a contemporary artist and writer from Japan; Song Huaigui, a pioneer in the Chinese fashion industry who played a huge part in bringing Pierre Cardin to China for a runway show in 1979; and Dadawa, a contemporary Chinese musician who has earned global recognition as well as an MTV award for her work.
Some of these leading ladies have been involved with the Louis Vuitton brand in some shape or form. Yayoi Kusama took her signature bold spots and applied them to a playful collaboration with the French fashion house in 2012. Karen Blixen was a known fan of bringing along Louis Vuitton luggage on her iconic journey. And Liu Wen has modeled for the brand on multiple occasions, most notably in 2013 for a scarf capsule collection featuring colorful designs by renowned street artists.
The series is directed by Lixin Fan, a Canadian-based Chinese director, who has made documentaries covering a range of social issues in China. Journey of a Muse ended its run on CCTV9 on February 22, but people can now view it on the brand’s interactive WeChat post and Chinese video streaming service Youku.
Louis Vuitton’s online presence has been strong in China in the midst of rearranging its brick-and-mortar presence. The brand has been one of many luxury fashion houses in China who has had to close a stream of brick-and-mortar stores due to a struggling industry and competition with increasing numbers of online shoppers in China. Late last year, the brand ended up closing shop in Guangzhou, Harbin, and Urumqi, and it may close even more in the coming year.