Louis Vuitton’s Speedy bag has recently received the Pharrell Williams treatment, as the singer-turned-Louis-Vuitton-creative-director and the French luxury fashion house teamed up for a new collaboration.
Spawning four new colours, the Pharrell Speedy, dubbed the ‘Millionaire’, is fashioned out of crocodile leather rather than the usual canvas, a move which has understandably sparked controversy.
The Speedy bag is an icon of the generations, with its history dating to the 1930s. Originally a large men’s bag made out of canvas and called ‘the Express’, it was later decreased in size for one of the most famous women of the 20th century, actress Audrey Hepburn. The bag continued to be a favourite until the early noughties, when Marc Jacobs, who was the creative director of Louis Vuitton at the time, teamed up with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
The cherry blossoms and multicoloured monograms that resulted from the collaboration were also plastered on the Speedy bag, catapulting the bag into a new league. Over the years, stars like Jessica Simpson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Campbell, and Beyoncé have been seen wearing them.
Pharrell took over the creative direction of Louis Vuitton last year, and the collaboration follows other successful takes on the bag by other world-famous artists, including singer Rihanna and Japanese contemporary artist Yatoi Kusama. Nevertheless, the Happy singer’s version of the bag has landed with much controversy.
The bag, which is available in three primary colours (red, yellow and blue), as well as one secondary colour (green), is to be fashioned out of crocodile leather, rather than the traditional canvas. Apart from that, the bag, which is only made-to-order, retails for $1 million, hence its new nickname, the ‘Millionaire’.
PETA, as well as many other activists, have called out Pharrell and Louis Vuitton for their choice of material, as well as the excessive price tag, with many wondering why the stylist has taken the opposite direction of the ethical fashion trend that is gaining momentum globally.