Friday, 28 November 2008

"The bag doesn't know it's a bag ..."

Canada's Eye Weekly carries a punchy piece, "The Louis Vuitton Con", by Rea McNamara, which discusses the ideas of Marcus Boon, an academic whose forthcoming book In Praise of Copying seems guaranteed to raise a storm. McNamara writes:
"Western society inherited from Plato the most popular concept of copying, that "everything is a copy" (also known as mimesis). Heidegger would later say that mimesis equals copying a presentation — “all copies are made and produced” quoted Boon — and the parodying of something in a manner. How’s a bag then the imitation of an idea?

Perhaps it has something to do with our concept of luxury. Boon showed an original 1927 Louis Vuitton ad with this delicious sales pitch: “The trunks that last a lifetime… is French but LOOKS French… not only IS the finest but APPEARS the finest.” The idea of an "essential" LV outward appearance is complicated, a sameness not easily differentiated between a real Canal Street stall with fake product and the faux Louis Vuitton stall (with real product) installed outside the Brooklyn Museum for their Takashi Murakami retrospective (the Japanese artist famously re-made the LV monogram in "super-flat" technicolour). Outsourced manufacturing muddies it further — is the Louis Vuitton bag really French? LV artistic director Marc Jacobs is American, after all".
The article continues in much the same vein, with lots of philosophical points to ponder. For example,
"Louis Vuitton would like you to believe in their version of a "projected" fixed original essence. But a bag isn’t really a living entity is it? It can’t do transcendence. The bag doesn’t know it’s a bag, and while Vuitton would lead you to believe that designation is key (neat seams, hologram authenticity cards, serial codes), it’s obviously unstable".
Fashionista awaits the publication of Professor Boon's book with interest and trusts that, in view of its title and its author's thesis, it will not be burdened by the presence of a copyright notice.