Dots all over! It is hard to escape these funny, colorful dots that have spread like wildfire in the digital as well as the analog world. They are somewhat contagious!
It is becoming apparent that something is bubbling up far beyond the surface: Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama is probably the most widespread and well-known collaboration between a brand and the art world. Louis Vuitton is a “repeat offender” in this particular case as they look back on a tremendously successful history of cooperation and co-creation with the art world. And it feels of course so close and seamless between fashion and art anyways.
“A true artist is not one who is inspired but one who inspires others.” – Salvador Dalí
Living collaborations are the most stunning ones! Has it caught you yet?
There are many other cases who play well the art game. Some brands understand better than others how to tie their efforts elegantly with their vision and values. Art brings credibility, intelligence, and a hint of freedom – a marketing department’s dream. However, let’s focus on which brand follows which path to establishing itself in the haze of art. And sometimes, yes sometimes, it comes about all by itself.
How to bond with art: There is no one-fits-all.
In the sphere of fashion, a myriad of forms can be detected, playing the claviature of marketing and branding to the fullest. Welcome to modern-day art patronage! Let’s take another glimpse at Louis Vuitton: Is it simply a sloppy sales stunt with the art? Unsurprisingly, a grandson of the brand's founder, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, commissioned his first projects from artists to work with the house on advertisements, window displays, and perfume bottles just over 100 years ago. Since 1988, Louis Vuitton has built on this heritage by collaborating with some of the best-known names in modern art and design, including Sol LeWitt, James Rosenquist, Cesar, and Olafur Eliasson. As an emphasis on their commitment, the house opened the landmark Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris by Frank Gehry in 2014.
Despite LV’s broad impact, these houses hold enormously magnetizing foundations that have a lasting influence on the art world: Fondation Cartier Pour l’Art Contemporain, Fondazione Prada, Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, and Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès. The latter brand knows how to weave the threads of its origins and values into art like hardly anyone else – not puffery, but at the highest level. I still remember their Festival des Métiers in Vienna where they had gracefully presented their high-caliber craftsmanship in a wonderful setting. Hermes' signature is unmistakable and the house has a knack for dealing with art. The French, you might think, but no. Take a minute and reflect on how Hermès is presenting itself on the market, the branding, the visuals, its tone of voice to name a few. Hermès takes pride in the fact that “the foundation attentively listens to and engages with the wider world, cultivating authenticity and diversity through its firm commitment to public-interest initiatives across four themes: the transmission of skills, the creation of works of art, the protection of the environment, and the encouragement of gestures of solidarity.”
Another case: Cos stands for designs with timeless aesthetics and they first started out with London’s Serpentine Gallery at Frieze back in 2010. Cos also liaises with the Dia Art Foundation in the US and Milan’s annual design fair, Salone del Mobile. It comes without saying that this brand created and established a place for art, design, and experience just a few years later. The Coal Drop Yard store. Apropos, the combination of store and art might ring a bell and we may quote a master of art:
When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums where images of mass advertising and popular culture that everyone can recognize are a form of art.” – Andy Warhol
When listening to Karin Gustafsson, creative director at Cos, it sounds familiar: “I don’t think there is anything unique about taking inspiration from art. (…) The location is like a gallery and shop coming together in one space – closing the circle and showing our inspirations together with our collections.”
Every brand finds an elaborate take on art, louder or quieter, more striking or more subtle. The freedom of art allows marketing to free itself from predetermined constraints in the most wonderful way. Rise and shine!
How to create your own artsy bubble?
Art must not be a mere sales action nor a short-term solution to raise attention. Art is an integral part of your foundation – or not. When thoughts start circling, simply begin with:
Why is art important to my brand?
What are your vision and goals?
What are your values?
What commitment are you prepared to give?
Simple questions are difficult to answer sometimes but a good “Why” is always an excellent beginning on the path to success. Your brand is not related to fashion? Guess what, it does not matter. That’s the magic and freedom of branding, marketing, and art. Not convinced yet? Stay tuned for another take on art patronage in our ages.
A&P sidenote: Zim&Zou, a complementary and polyvalent artist duo, are wizards and domteurs of paper, sculpturing a universe of handcrafted objects and manipulating them to give rise to intricate colorful sculptures. Paper inspires them for its versatility, infinite range of colors, and unique textures. The flat paper sheets turned into volume are giving an installation the poetry of ephemeral material.