Luxury brand and artist collaborations have gained steam over the past few years, as luxury designers try to differentiate their products and attract fans of limited-edition collections. From partnerships between Louis Vuitton and artists like Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince to LV/Marc Jacobs collections featuring the work of Stephen Sprouse, fashion houses are keenly aware that art partnerships have a successful track record, particularly in major handbag and luxury markets like Hong Kong.
This week, hypebeast reports on the newest art-luxury partnership on the block, a one-off, one-item collaboration between Comme des Garçons and Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. The collision of one of the hottest Japanese fashion labels and the hottest Asian contemporary artist, though only for one t-shirt, could portend more luxury partnerships between Chinese artists and major luxury brands -- since the Chinese art market and Chinese luxury market are both defying the global economic doldrums.
COMME des GARCONS was among the casualties of the recent On Lan Street facelift in Hong Kong’s Central district. However, the re-opened store will resume business as usual and celebrate its new location with this collaboration t-shirt with Chinese contemporary artist Ai Wei Wei. The t-shirt will retail for $1600 HKD (approximately $206 USD).
Occupying the basement of Ice House Street, this brand new COMME DES GARÇON store named “COMME DES GARÇONS UNDER THE GROUND” dazzles customers with the exquisite graphic prints all across the entrance on the ground floor and the walls. Walk along the alley and alight from the stairs to the basement. The walk throughout the white lighting and the all-over graphic prints on the wall provides the visual pleasure of a stroll in an art museum. At the end of the stairway one will find two entrances, one leading to JUNYA WATANABE COMME DES GARÇONS and COMME DES GARÇONS HOMME, and the other to an arc-shaped area, in which two curvy white walls separate COMME DES GARÇONS SHIRT, COMME DES GARÇONS COMME DES GARÇONS and COMME DES GARÇONS play; as if losing oneself in the fashion maze of Rei Kawakubu. An innovative interior design redefines the boundary of the retail space. The original high ceiling is divided into different parts of different heights; which, together with the rough concrete walls, resembles a meandering maze dazzling with originality and chic.
Across the arc-shaped area a customer will be led into another realm – EXHIBITION AREA. It is a rectangular transparent box in which, at the grand opening of the new shop, will present an artwork by celebrated Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. The two walls of the EXHIBITION AREA are adorned with hanging spectacular installations of COMME DES GARÇONS及COMME DES GARÇONS HOMME PLUS。