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Christian Schoeler for Louis Vuitton

At the Vuitton menswear show, romantic painting meets military fashion

Yesterday, on the Louis Vuitton catwalks, three pieces stood out like candles on a cake. Amongst the hard-line, army-chic clothes, colourful, handpainted bags caught surprised gazes. This is a collaboration between Vuitton menswear designer Paul Helbers and young German artist Christian Schoeler.

A fan of 19th century painting, which Schoeler inspires his work from, Helbers offered him to create a tangible bridge between art and fashion. After creating suits earlier this year, the pair moved on to bags: 3 models – 2 large weekender-style bags and one square rucksack– were created in a limited edition, out of pieces specially made on leather by Schoeler.

In the city of the Louvres and the Musée d’Orsay, this could have been a kitschy disaster, to compete with Mona Lisa mugs and Van Gogh knickers. Yet the strict, square shapes of the bags –picked by Schoeler-  contrasted with the style of the paintings. These depicted landscapes and different natural sceneries, but from a distant, looked like poetic myopia, a soft blur of paint and cracks.

“These are good for traveling, they remind me of the nomadic life artists often lead. It’s not really about the bag, but about mobile life” said Schoeler about the collaboration. “All artists’ clothes are covered in stains, like an accidental customization”, he continued, “My life is about creativity and that applies to art, but also to fashion.”