The handbag Frank Gehry, FAIA, created for Louis Vuitton should have been extraordinary. The French fashion brand, which built an entire Charlotte Perriand house last December, collaborated with six designers for a new accessories collection honoring the brand's 160th anniversary and logo. But images of Gehry's bag are now circulating online, and what could have been an arm-sized Walt Disney Concert Hall in canvas is instead a one-move gesture that only faintly resembles the L.A. architect's work, in fashion or in architecture.
The collection, called "Celebrating Monogram," launches on Oct. 15. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld created a tote-able boxing set, photographer Cindy Sherman designed a parrot-inspired vanity trunk and camera bag, and shoe designer Christian Louboutin devised a pattern-blocked shopping bag and trolley. The collection also includes fleece backpacks by new Apple-employee Marc Newson and a cut-out tote by Dover Street Market's Rei Kawakubo. (See the promo video below for shots of these pieces.)
Gehry's Twisted Box handbag, however, is a letdown from the man behind the soon-to-open Fondation Louis Vuitton. One of the simplest creations of the bunch, this bag's shape vaguely mimics the curvature of a single section of the Disney Concert Hall, but falls flat as a single component. The concert hall works as a sum of its parts, and this bag needs the rest of its parts. Even his windows for the brand look more like what he's known for.
Gehry has taken risks in the fashion world before. He designed his first hat for Lady Gaga when she performed at L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009. That hat, as The New Yorker's Dana Goodyear describes, was "a millinery version of Walt Disney Hall." The Telegraph's David Nicholls wrote in 2008 that the pieces in Gehry's second collection with Tiffany & Co. "successfully capture the fluid, sculptural essence of his work—so much so that we can forgive some indulgent self-reference, such as the one-off Bilbao brooch: a miniaturised floorplan of the Guggenheim, albeit one made from diamond-encrusted platinum and signed by Gehry himself. Just like his buildings, it is outrageous in concept but magnificent in execution."
And there's the rub. This Louis Vuitton bag is satisfactory in execution, but not outrageous in concept. Gehry's bag is too ready-to-wear.