Creative Partnerships in the Luxury Industry that Stood Out in 2017


Camille Lake | February 12, 2018

2017 was a year that saw luxury brands and artists join forces in new ways. Luxury Society picks out some of the luxury industry’s most notable creative partnerships from last year.

Collaborations between artists and brands are by no means a new phenomenon. But with the rapidly changing consumer landscape and growing demand for novel products that carry authentic messages, such collaborations seem to be increasingly significant – and for good reason. And really, if you think about it, such partnerships benefit both parties: Brands need to communicate certain messages in a creative manner, and artists are constantly looking for new platforms to showcase their work. What better way than to do this through fashion, watches and jewelry?

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Cartier and Sofia Coppola for “La Panthère de Cartier” online campaign

The French luxury watch and jewelry brand teamed up with Oscar-winning director, Sofia Coppola, for its 2017 online campaign “La Panthère de Cartier”. Coppola directed a short film featuring Australian model and actress, Courtney Eaton, wearing the Panthère watch to announce its relaunch. The storyline follows a young woman (Eaton) weaving her way through various, glamorous, Hollywood settings, showcasing the ideal independent lifestyle of what it means to be a Panthère woman.

The video has amassed more than 4.8 million views on YouTube since being posted in June last year. A select number of the watches were exclusively available on Net-a-Porter until 31 May 2017. The campaign gives a nod to female empowerment as Cartier clearly chose Coppola for her ability to capture what is important to today’s modern woman, while showcasing the watch’s elegance and femininity.

Image credit: Cartier. Image: Sofia Coppola (Left) and Courtney Eaton for Cartier’s online campaign (Right).

Chanel, Pharrell Williams and Adidas

Colette, an iconic Parisian retailer, announced last year that it would be closing its doors for good on 20 December 2017. Chanel has been the concept pop-up store’s number one client for the past two decades and, naturally, could not bear to part ways with it without a final collaboration. The high fashion brand teamed up with famous American rapper, Pharrell Williams, and sportswear brand Adidas, to mark the end of its partnership with Colette. Pharrell was given the opportunity to design his own Adidas sneaker, with Chanel typography included, of which only 500 pairs were released and sold exclusively at the Colette store for a limited period.

The singer-songwriter has collaborated with Chanel before, but this is his first design for one of their products. The sneakers were originally priced at around $1160 USD, but according to StockX, its resale price has since skyrocketed to over $11,000 USD. This partnership between four major names in the luxury industry not only attracted the luxury collectors’ market, but also fans that were nostalgic to see the closing of a beloved store.

Image credit: Colette Instagram. Image: Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld with Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake at Colette’s pop-up concept store.

Gucci and Dapper Dan

Gucci sparked some controversy back in May 2017 when the brand launched its Gucci Resort 2018 collection which featured a brown bomber jacket that appeared to be the exact copy of a design created by legendary Harlem tailor Daniel Day - better known as Dapper Dan - in the 80’s. Following this accusation, Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, came forward to clarify that the jacket was in fact designed as homage to Dapper Dan.

To resolve the conflict, Gucci offered Dapper Dan a partnership that would include reopening his boutique in Harlem and featuring his own custom Dapper Dan Gucci collection. The shop opens in January 2018 and clients have to book an appointment prior to their visit, which creates an element of exclusivity. Not only is the luxury brand making a cultural statement, but it was also a clever way to protect its reputation and put a positive spin on a mistake. Gucci now benefits by tapping into a new market, while Dan himself is back in the spotlight. 

Image credit: Gucci. Image: Dapper Dan for the new Gucci collaboration.

Louis Vuitton and Jeff Koons

Louis Vuitton and American artist, Jeff Koons, launched the limited edition “The New Masters Collection” in April 2017. Koons gave classic Louis Vuitton bags and other accessories, his own spin. Each of them featured prints of different iconic paintings from masters such as Da Vinci, Van Gogh and Gauguin. Prices ranged from £370 for a luggage bag charm clip, to £2,800 for the big Van Gogh bag.

The partnership was so successful that Louis Vuitton announced a second collaboration with the artist in October last year. Had this been done 20 years ago, such a design might not have appealed to the public – in fact, it could have been seen as rather kitschy. However, consumers today don’t seem to be having the same reaction, with millennials seeing the value in the bags’ exclusivity and collectability. Is this a sign of the times of how consumers are changing their minds about what luxury looks like?

Image credit: Louis Vuitton. Image: Jeff Koons showcasing a Gaugun-inspired bag.

Rolex and National Geographic

National Geographic magazine announced in its July 2017 issue that it would be extending its partnership with Swiss luxury watchmaker, Rolex. The aim of the partnership is to support and advance exploration. Adventure photographers like David Doubilet, and filmmaker James Cameron, are just two of many explorers to be Rolex’s ambassadors. Their works will be published through a hub of digital and print adverts by the luxury watch brand.

The value in this partnership lies in both brands’ respect for the environment as well as for promoting a quality lifestyle. This is shown by the quality of the photographs and adverts put out by National Geographic and Rolex together. 

Image credit: Rolex. Image: Filmmaker James Cameron for Rolex. 

Cover image credit: Cartier. Image: La Panthère de Cartier campaign. 

Arts | Innovation