I can remember, vividly, when Marc Jacobs-helmed Louis Vuitton released their collection designed by Japanese contemporary artist, Takashi Murakami. Seeing the staid, iconic Vuitton logo reimagined as a rainbow of youthful, poppy fun made me crazy with bag lust; to this day, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more. But over the next year, the design’s popularity became its downfall: it was everywhere. Fakes on Canal and the streets of Soho increased its proliferation to the tipping point, where fashion familiarity breeds contempt. All these years later, while I still appreciate the design, it serves as an important lesson: I don’t want what everyone else has, and you shouldn’t either.
As a highly identifiable brand, Louis Vuitton precariously straddles the line between exclusive and mass market, so if you buy their bags, chances are very good you’re one of many- many many. Instead, here are two collections that you won’t see on every other woman’s arm, that you’ll have to search a little harder for, possibly pay a little more for, but are, simply, the best.
Stephen Sprouse– By far my favorite collection, the graffiti covered bags and wallets are modern, aggressive, and rare. Ebay is your best bet where many are lightly pre-owned (though no less expensive).
Cindy Sherman– If you want more of the iconic monogram visible, these bags (from the Celebrating Monogram collection) showcase travel inspired patches, a nod to the heritage of Louis Vuitton.
If you’re looking for a wallet, key ring, or other small leather goods, the Illustre collection is my favorite.