Thursday, 10 April 2008

The Other Murakami

When I heard about Marc Jacobs collaboration with a certain Murakami for it's latest collection, I thought "wow, Marc actually reads japanese literature". The idea of putting the magic of words into Louis Vuitton design is out of this world but knowing how great of a designer Jacobs is, I knew it wouldn't be impossible.

Of course I wrong. He did not collaborate (and the idea remains impossible) with the Murakami that I love, the japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, but with "Japan's Andy Warhol", Takashi Murakami.

Having read some of Haruki Murakami's masterpieces like Dance, Dance, Dance and the Elephant Vanishes (I should get a new copy as I have traded mine with a friend when I went to Paris in 2004 for a copy of Irvine Welsh's PORNO which was the sequel to Trainspotting) , I became an instant fan of the famous Japanese contemporary writer. For those of you who are still clueless of his works, I suggest you get yourself acquainted with his bizarre world---lost elephants, sheep men, clairvoyants, lots of surrealism, weird sense of humour and poignant nostalgia.

So, it wasn't the Murakami that I thought it was. Nevertheless, the idea of haute couture infused with manga, anime and cartoon characters is as bizarre and odd as any Haruki Murakami novels I've read. It sounds exciting though but I think it is also a big risk for Mr. Jacobs since the brand has always been niched for the upper class whose taste is far more than cartoonish. I can't imagine the likes of Hilary Clinton or Madam Carla Bruni ( think I can with Carla, actually) sporting an LV speedy bag engraved with a mickey mouse like character on it in a certain international convention or something. However, when I saw some of the designs, I was relieved.
Not bad at all, aren't they? Imagine Carrie Bradshaw or Cameron Diaz sporting them. Perfect.

This one though is just plain no-no for me:

The classic monogram background and the colourful patches just don't work at all.

Haruki Murakami / Takashi Murakami

I love Japanese art. When I was living in Asia, I had my daily dose of manga and animé on tv (dubbed in English of course) and I swear, once you get the hang of it, you'll get hooked. It's a totally different, twisted, amazing, universe much more darker than any of your Disney favourites. Some of Takashi Murakami's works

I have mixed feelings about this whole collaboration with Marc Jacobs and Takashi but I always keep reminding myself that these two are both masters of their crafts. Just like some of Murakami's (the novelist) protagonists, they are both dreamy, brainy, creative introverts embarking on some outlandish conspiracies (read "A Wild Sheep Chase," "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World") like this recent project.

Let's just hope this story will not end up a tragedy.


P. S. Here's Marc Jacob's video about his collaboration with Takashi. Enjoy!


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