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Xbox & Frenzy Are Giving Away Five Toronto-Themed Xbox One Xs

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Want to win an Xbox One X? Well, you’re in luck. Xbox Canada has joined forces with Frenzy to give away five custom-designed gaming consoles. This is the first time Microsoft has worked with Shopify/Frenzy before, and also the first times they are using a direct to consumer campaign.

“We really wanted to try something new,” says Christina Badame Verdurmen, Sr. Marketing Communications Manager of Xbox Canada. “We’re really, really, really excited about the partnership that we’ve got going on with Frenzy, and just a really unique opportunity to engage with consumers and just generate some excitement with a really great audience that loves these types of collaborations as well as with gaming and street art and bringing those things together to just do something really cool and unique.”

Frenzy is known for it’s  streetwear marketplace to buy and sell exclusive items. Partnering with the gaming brand brings both the gaming community and collectors of limited edition products together in one place.

“We have this huge subculture of gamers that are really into some of these custom and really limited edition pieces,” Christina states. We thought it was just this really great natural fit into doing some custom consoles that would appeal to these gamers, and just give them an opportunity to have a chance to have this exclusive piece with Xbox, specifically around the Xbox One X and helping to drive the excitement of that launch.”

Xbox collaborated with Toronto designer & artist Bryan Espiritu to create the five custom Xbox One X gaming consoles. Each console is designed to reflect the unique details of Toronto’s five boroughs – Downtown, Uptown, Eastend, Westend and Toronto general.

“This project is specific to Canada. With the artists that we’re working with, Bryan Espiritu, he is Toronto through and through, so we definitely focused on, through the art and through Bryan, who is this just really incredibly passionate creator, to really work with him to create this set of limited edition consoles. He has a huge connection to Toronto, so really being able for him to bring that passion, and it is a truly local experience for Canadians.”

The black and white print colorway is the “Toronto” edition and will be a part of the giveaway, the other consoles will be available exclusively via a Frenzy dropzone event at 4 p.m., Tuesday, November 7 at an undisclosed location to coincide with the global release for Xbox One X.  To access the consoles, you’ll need to download the Frenzy app, enable Apple Pay, call the number below and keep an eye on Frenzy’s Twitter to decipher the dropzone before 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Once within the geographic boundaries of the dropzone, the giveaway countdown will show up in your app and go live at 4 p.m. sharp.

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We also caught up with the Toronto artist to get his thoughts on working with Xbox, his design process, and his favorite video games to play. Check out the Q&A below.

What drew you to take on the Xbox x Frenzy project?

It kind of came out of nowhere to be honest with you, but the nice thing about this project specifically was I had already heard about Frenzy, specifically, outside of this project. That kind of excited me from the jump. They were sort of the connector. Then the thing with Xbox, I sat and I spoke to them about what they wanted to do and how they wanted to connect the different sections or boroughs in the city into an idea creatively using some of my type pattern work, that’s what really got me interested. It was entirely different than any typical kind of creative job that I get where it’s just, they have a vision and I’m just sort of their hand. They were very respectful of my creative vision and just in those initial conversations, I think that’s what really drew me to the idea, that they weren’t one of those handcuffing brands that weren’t willing to take risks and do the things that I felt were right creatively.

Can you tell me about the designs and the inspirations that you used?

Yeah. Espiritusucks is like the chapter that I worked under for specifically art and these type patterns. I did a couple installations in the Jordan store here in Toronto using the same pattern that we used for the Toronto-specific Xbox One console. That’s something that I’m kind of known for and a lot of people hire me specifically for that one pattern.

Really when I sat with them, I said, “I have this approach that I call it ships, like S-H-I-P-S, which is essentially just shit hiding in plain sight.” It’s basically just a way for me to write whatever I want and for people to not really know. It just looks nice.

In working on the actual uptown, downtown, east end, west end, the one thing that I had to do was knock out a lot of particular neighborhoods. I know that a lot of my homies who are weighing in on what should be part of which area, they were just yelling out street corners and this spot and that spot. I had to really, really narrow it down. I got love for everybody from fucking Branson to Bickering, but I couldn’t put everything in there. It just wasn’t possible. But the most, in terms of what informationally what’s in there and neighborhood-wise or whatever, is in the Toronto-specific, GTA-specific console. The signature Espiritusucks pattern. If you get your hands on that one, you’re almost guaranteed to see your neighborhood in there.

Even the colors specifically, I don’t know if you know about the reasons why we used the colors that we did or whatever. There’s just a tie-in, like a physical tie-in between the actual controller for the console. We just basically looked at the buttons on the controller and said, “Well, uptown is yellow, because it’s the top button. The rightmost button is red, so we’ll use that for the east end. Green is the bottommost button, so we’ll use that for downtown, and blue is the leftmost button, so we’ll use that for the west end.” Even though it’s pretty physically obvious, I wanted to make sure that the designs themselves actually tied into the way Xbox manages its colors on its controllers.

Did you treat this art project the same as other art pieces you’ve create?

I did think about that a lot. They’ve given me the opportunity to be hands on and be like, “If you want to physically paint them.” But I don’t paint vehicles and motorcycle helmets. I don’t typically paint stuff that has got people punching it and handling the controller and stuff like that. I was just kind of like, oh shit, maybe we should just leave this to the professional vendors to take care of. On that side, in terms of the application side, yeah, I did think about it.

Creatively, the way I approached this differently than I approached the Jordan thing, I do want to approach every job differently, but it was open season for me to do whatever I want. These patterns … this is the first thing that I’ve ever used, first product, first anything that I’ve ever used this on. Really, this is the first time I’ve ever shown anyone that I was even working on something like this. They were just completely open to it. It was a risk on their end to just say, “Yeah, let’s let Bryan do whatever he wants.” I was uncertain as to how it would be received once I actually presented it to them because they hadn’t seen it before. It’s not like one of those things where your client goes, “I want it to look like that thing that you’ve already done.” You know what I’m saying? They were just open to me doing whatever it is I wanted to do. I did really consider that this was going to be something that might be either sitting in somebody’s room or that if I had one, I’d be displaying it. So I did have to consider that. In terms of the way that I handled the colors and all that kind of shit.

Have you ever wanted to create in the video game industry (video game character, box cover art, etc.)?

You want to know something, man? Fuck, I forgot who it was. I want to say it was Drake that brought it up to me, but I don’t remember exactly. There was one GTA that came out and someone sent me a screen grab like, “Yo, you’re doing apparel for GTA now?” Because they thought that one of my logos was on the sweater of one of the main characters.

I’m very interested in doing something like that, like doing apparel stuff or some character design 100%, because it’s the core. Your favorite typographers are graffiti writers. It’s something that definitely interests me, to be able to potentially do some character design. I’m really interested in doing these sort of custom pieces that traditionally are used for one specific use, but then can be looked at in a different fashion. I did one of my patterns on a fire extinguisher for an installation that we did in my shop down here, the LL Sweatshop. A lot of people asked to buy it. It was this thing that I had just done. People came into the store and were like, “Yo, can I buy the fire extinguisher?”

I think a lot of people know this, but when you see something that you’re used to seeing in one light, and then you get an artist do something a little bit different to it, it gives it a little bit of value that doesn’t change anything. You know, the Xbox One X that I worked on, they’re no different than the Xbox One X that you’re going to be able to buy on November 7. It’s just the look of it. It’s just the physical look of it. You have this weird mental thing.

But I do definitely have an interest in doing stuff like that, just like whether it’s consoles again or controllers or whatever. Just something that I think that people who are fans of my work or maybe don’t even know about the work that I’ve done, they can go, “I really fuck with that,” because it’s part of their day to day activities. There’s a little bit more of a connection because the person that may have designed it is somebody that they might admire or follow or whatever it might be.

Are you a gamer? What are some of your favorite games to play?

Okay. I’m old as fuck, right. [laughs] I remember games when the up button didn’t do anything because you could only go left and right.

I have an 18-year-old son. He schools me on what all the fucking names are and even still I don’t know them. I’m like a puzzle guy. It sounds super weird, but I’m a Tetris guy, or just those old school 80s, or I guess it would’ve been 90s. Because that’s as far as I can remember. While all my homies were advancing and they had like whatever consoles were coming out, I didn’t have shit. So it wasn’t really that I didn’t want a game, it’s just that I couldn’t afford it. I didn’t have the loot to actually get it. Then as I got older, I had to pay bills and do shit and it seemed weird to me to drop $400 on something.

But yeah. I’m more of an old school. When I have to use both thumbs for directional turnaround, that’s way too much for me, man. That’s way too many things going on. My dexterity doesn’t allow for me to do something like that. It’s a funny thing though.

Have you heard of the game League of Legends, if so, has any one ever mistaken your clothing brand The Legends League with it?

[Laughs] All the time! All the time! I’ll tell you an honest to god truth. A lot of people don’t know where the name Legends League actually originated from, because the brand started way before League of Legends actually existed. Legends League formed, I’m going to say this as briefly as I can.

Essentially, I was looking at legends as people and stories, right. So the people and the stories that happened in my life when I was coming up and telling people all this crazy shit that happened to me back in the day, that collective of people was my Legends League, right. Everyone’s stories and everyone’s people that influenced and inspired them to be whoever they were, whether they were super successful or pieces of shit that I met on the street, their “legends league” was different from mine. That’s where it actually originated.

When League of Legends came out, I was like, “I’m scrapping this name immediately.” [Laughs] For a long time I was telling my business partners we got to switch the name quick because if things start to go too far, it’s going to get to a place where the confusion is just going to be too high, because there’s no way we’re going to get more popular than this video game. That’s why, if you look at the way that I communicate our shop even, it’s called the LL Sweatshop, because I can’t start getting things confused where there’s kids up in the spot and like … “Yo, is there a League of Legends tournament happening? Believe me, brother, this is something that I’ve thought about years and years and years ago.

To me, it’s kind of laughable. The funny thing is, like 11 years ago when I came up with name, when we were making clothes, the brand was actually called Ideal. The apparel aspect of Legends League was called Ideal because I knew Legends League was a corny name for apparel. That’s me being 100 with you. I knew in my head, “I can’t call my apparel Legends League.” That’s why we don’t have any logos that actually say Legends League. It’s only the double L. That’s it. I’ve definitely thought about that.

How do you divvy up your time between designing clothes, running a retail store, and creating art projects?

It’s a lot, man. It’s a whole lot. It’s not like I have an assistant. I don’t have somebody helping manage my time at all or whatever. It’s basically just getting up as early as possible is a big part of it. I very rarely go to sleep. I fall asleep all the time, but I very rarely go to bed, because I’ll just work until I’m just completely exhausted and I pass out like taking my shoes off or something.

It’s a lot of maximizing how many hours there are in the day and trying to do as much as I can on the go. I also realized that my creative work comes out a lot better in the evening, which works out really well for me because then I can handle any supplier sort of communications throughout the day. It’s really just, over the course of time, just understanding when is the right time to do what. When am I mostly in the mode to be painting? When am I most efficient to be designing or to be writing lines for any of the brands that I help work on? That takes years and years and years of knowing yourself, because I think when you’re younger you just try to plow through. You just say, “Well fuck, I got to fucking work, so I’m just working every single moment of the day.” For me, if I start feeling like the work’s not happening properly, I’ll just let it go. I’ll go for a walk. I’ll grab a coffee. I’ll go to the gym or something like that. I think that’s the only way to do it, you know.

Lastly, many fans, including myself, take inspiration from your “3 Things” tweet series (now book). Can you share 3 tips of advice for aspiring artists?

One, make as many mistakes as possible. Two, don’t be afraid of your own originality, and let yourself be your worst critic. Three, don’t let anybody else tell you what you are or what you aren’t. Let yourself be your worst critic.

If you’re thinking about picking up an Xbox One X, be sure to check out what all the critics are saying first.

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Art

Step Inside KAWS’ Art-Filled Brooklyn Home

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Fresh off the release of his BFF Vinyl edition, world renowned artist Brian Donnelly, more famously known as KAWS, has provided a look inside his triangle-shaped residence in Brooklyn, New York.

Covering the December 2017 issue of Architectural Digest, Donnelly, along with his wife and sculptor Julia Chiang, showcase the art-filled home, as well as share a few anecdotes in the recent spotlight by AD.

Here are a few takeaways that we learned from the conversation.

…on how he decided to move into the triangle-shaped industrial building, initially designed by Masamichi Katayama of Wonderwall.

BD: “I used to walk by here every once in a while. I wasn’t looking for a place—though I always like to look—so it was a spontaneous purchase. And after completing my main studio, which was a ground-up project, I came into this wanting to just get in as quickly as possible.”

…on his workspace since the building is divided between family living areas, administrative office and art storage.

BD: “I tend to live in a bit of a bubble between home and work.” (The studio is just a short bike ride away and he describes himself as “not very social”.)

…on his vast and varied collection of art, ranging from the 1950s to the present, and has acquired dozens of works by the same artist.

BD: “I collect piece by piece. But then you get into it and you just start thinking about the missing pieces. I don’t buy art to put in specific places. I just collect what I love and hope to find a place for it to be visible. When I come home, it’s refreshing to focus on other artists.”

For more, read the entire coverage directly at Architectural Digest.

In other design news, this $3,000 arcade box is perfect for the traveling gamer.

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Art

Banksy Threw a “Balfour ‘Apology Party'” at The Walled Off Hotel in Palestine

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Having sold a number of works from his latest installation “The Walled Off Hotel,” the mysterious artist Banksy recently held a special street tea event dubbed, “Balfour ‘Apology Party’,” outside The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine, to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

On this day in November 1917, British statesman Sir Arthur James Balfour signed a letter promising the land of Palestine to the Zionist Federation, a recently established political movement whose goal was the creation of a Jewish state. In addition, he promised a land that was not his to promise, disregarding the political rights of those who already lived there.

The “Apology Party” was hosted by an actor dressed as Queen Elizabeth II for a British-style tea party, as notable pieces seen in the decoration consisted of bullet-riddled helmets with British flags on them, while tattered Union Jacks were flown.

The focal point of the party was the royal reveal of Banksy’s latest public work, a simple “Er, SORRY” text with a crown symbol chiseled on the notorious separation wall, which in many areas cuts through Palestinian territory.

While it’s known that Banksy protects his identity carefully, he was not in attendance for the event.

For more of Banksy’s work, check out his latest murals paying tribute to Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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Art

The Golden Shape Conceptualizes Two New Models for Virgil Abloh & Nike’s “The Ten” Collection

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French concept artist, The Golden Shape, has gone to work on two Nike models, the Air Max Plus and Air More Uptempo, to conceptualize how they may have looked had Virgil Abloh chosen them for his “The Ten” collaboration with Nike.

Having already worked on 10 classic Nike silhouettes, Nike and Virgil stans obviously wanted to see the collection expanded to include more of their favorite sneakers.

It seems unlikely that the designer himself will expand his collection, however, The Golden Shape has provided fans with mock ups to, at the very least, temporarily quench their thirst.

Check out the two concepts above and let us know what other silhouettes you’d like to see worked on in the future.

In other sneaker news, UNDEFEATED is dropping a third colorway of its much-hyped Air Max 97 collaboration this weekend.

To stay updated, follow @Highsnobietysneakers on Instagram.

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Art

Google Taps Artist Jason Woodside for Exclusive Los Angeles Pop-Up

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Amidst the arrival of the iPhone X, Google’s Pixel 2 has been a well-received smartphone as well with its Active Edge feature, thin bezels, improved camera and more.

To celebrate, the tech company has opened pop-up retail spaces across the nation so customers can experience or purchase the device, and the featured gallery above is particularly located in Los Angeles. Furthermore, Google has tapped NYC artist Jason Woodside, known for his large-scale, graphic murals of color-saturated, patterned motifs that are prominent in New York, Paris and Sydney, in addition to collabs with colette, adidas and others.

Woodside has created a custom vinyl that covers the entire exterior of the LA Pop-up, as well as creating a limited edition digital canvas that can be printed on Google Live Cases (a customizable phone case), or you can downloaded it as a wallpaper on your Pixel Phone too for $40 USD.

When asked how technology and social media plays into his practice, Woodside shared something very insightful.

“When I first started out, creating and making things with my hands was my focus. Over time, considering my love for city culture and skateboarding I was able to find my voice with the use of paints and spray paint. Generally, all of my work starts in my studio experimenting with much smaller scale works on canvas and panels. Even now that I’m doing multiple projects all over the world, most of the time much larger scale, I mostly use chalk and yard sticks! None of the works are planned in anyway as I like to consider the surroundings and local culture. Social media is a nice vehicle to bring visibility to my projects.

Street art was initially a passion project that I imagined being enjoyed by passerby’s, but now a person can instantly broadcast that image to a huge network online. I don’t design with social media in mind, but the bright colors and graphic elements in my work mesh well with the medium.”

For more details about the new Google Pixel 2, read our roundup here.

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Art

Meet the Artist Making Food Porn for Sneakerheads

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#GramGen is a series profiling the most radical characters in youth culture, who continue to shape trend behavior and spark controversy through their avant fashion sense and candid social media personalities.

Meet Ro, otherwise known as @eatlikeyoureondeathrow__, the IG artist using sushi, pizza, and other tasty mediums to create edible versions of your favorite sneakers. With a chicken and waffles Nike High Dunk and a sushi-made OFF-WHITE x Air Jordan 1, the California-bound creative has amassed an IG following that ranges from food lovers to sneakerheads.

While Ro’s creations have become a marvel for sneaker snobs all over, the concept developed from the pop-art based food creations that she made in the form of bento boxes for her kids. It wasn’t until she fulfilled countless requests to try her art at sneakers that she secured a fan base of streetwear enthusiasts. Now, she keeps up with the newest in sneaker releases and collaborations, sometimes even imagining her own (see Supreme x Yeezy Boost 350 sushi kick below). By mixing everyone’s favorite foods with the most hyped kicks on the market, Ro is giving sneakerheads everywhere the ability to eat like they’re on death row.

We caught up with the artist to chat about her favorite sneakers to recreate and what it’s like to eat Yeezys for lunch.

What’s your occupation? 

Independent merchant.

How did you get started making sushi kicks?

It was a progression of the bento lunches I made for my kids that were pop-art based. Originally I made the account just for fun to push the boundaries of literal food porn with my more infamous edible d*ck food was getting flagged a lot… Hence, the two underscores after my username because the last two were disabled. While my most famous piece is the fried chicken & waffles Nike High Dunk, I’ve always been known for using the main ingredients of sushi or bentos for my food art.

Making sushi kicks and street-style pop based food art was also a cathartic way for me to distract my mind from the death of my dad… And sneakerheads always asked me to make some Jordans sushi kicks. 

How long does it take to create one piece?

Depends, a simple all-white Yeezy just takes a couple minutes. However, if it’s the more intricate and detailed OFF-WHITE or Obsidian 4s it can take up to 45 minutes.

How do you choose which sneakers to recreate?

The aesthetics of the shoes, whatever is hyped, or whatever catches my eyes before they hit the stores. 

Favorite food medium to work with? 

Main components of sushi, mostly rice, rice vinegar and nori, sometimes pizza.

Most importantly, do you eat them after?

I force feed them to my kids. [Laughs] I’m kidding, but some of them we do, some of them are basically just for the ‘gram. 

Do you consider yourself a sneakerhead in real life? Does your collection look anything like your creations?

I never considered myself one. I just go buy whatever sneakers that I like.

Not at all! But some of the sushi kicks I have in the feed I do have and wear. Most of the shoes I don’t wear as much I just send them back home to the Philippines so somebody else can wear them. 

There are a couple brands that dominate your feed, so we’ve got to ask: Supreme or Nike? 

Nike.

Favorite sneaker to recreate and why?

The Air Jordan 4s… They’re one of the kicks that requires attention to details and is harder to make, but the end product is much more rewarding. 

The hardest sneaker to recreate is:

No doubt the deconstructed OFF-WHITE rendition of the AJ 1 Chicagos.

The best tasting sneaker to recreate is/would be:

The most recent Supreme x Nike Air Force 2 collab. 

What brand or person would you like to collab with?

Nike & Jordan brand obviously, but far fetched dream would be graffiti artist @nychos since Basquiat is dead already. 

What’s next for @eatlikeyoureondeathrow__ ?

Website will be up soon!

For more Gramgen, check out the artist using making nearly-NSFW graphic collages.

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Art

Vincent Dubourg to Present Latest Collection at Carpenters Workshop Gallery

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French designer Vincent Dubourg, whose designs introduce motion to stationary furniture, will present his work at a solo exhibition at Carpenters Workshop Gallery. The exhibition opens November 2.

Dubourg’s work is highly sculptural and deals with the confrontation of materials such as wood, steel and aluminum. Subverting classic functional forms, Dubourg offers a new perspective to furniture design. His style often evokes a feeling of familiarity, which is then distorted by Dubourg’s use of unfamiliar materials and techniques.

For more information on his exhibition, which runs until December 23, read more at Carpenters Workshop Gallery.

In other news, New York City is getting two Barbara Kruger-designed MetroCards.

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Art

New York City Is Getting Two Limited-Edition Barbara Kruger-Designed MetroCards

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The Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City lowkey has some fire collaborations under its belt. Having previously collaborated with Supreme, the next limited-edition MetroCard is designed by conceptual artist Barbara Kruger.

Serving as part of Kruger’s site-specific work for the Performa Biennial, 50,000 MetroCards will be randomly distributed on November 1 at vending machines at four stations around the city.

The MetroCards will feature one of two designs, taken from Kruger’s 1991 work, “Untitled (Questions)” and “Whose Values?”, which featured on a 1992 Newsweek cover. Sets of pointed questions are printed on the back of the cards in the artist’s signature white-on-red Futura Bold Oblique.

Pick up your MetroCard at Broadway-Lafayette Street, East Broadway, Queensboro Plaza, or the B/C station at 116th Street.

In other news, Twitter lost it as people binged Stranger Things season two.

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Art

Livestock Celebrates 13th Anniversary With Epic Hockey Mask Art Show

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In celebration of Livestock‘s 13th anniversary, the Canadian retailer honors the momentous occasion with a hockey mask art show aptly tilted, “The 13th.”

A nod to their heritage as well, the lifestyle purveyor has selected hockey masks as the medium for each artist to express themselves through, while highlighting those they have collaborated with and provided inspiration.

Some notable standouts include PD of Skull Skates, who brought California skate culture to Canada in the ’70s; Tod Swank, who established Foundation Skateboards; Don Pendleton and Evan Hecox, who helped bring contemporary art to the forfront and contributed to melding the worlds of skateboarding, art, fashion, music and sneaker culture, as well as Mister Cartoon and Eric Haze, whose artistic endeavors have inspired various forms of creative expression.

While the first and second showcases have already taken place at their Vancouver and Toronto locations, as seen in the gallery above, the third show will occur at Livestock’s Winnipeg flagship on Friday, November 10.

Livestock Winnipeg
1-407 Graham Ave
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0L3
Canada

In other art news, Invader debuts his ‘New Mosaics of Ravenna’ exhibition in Hong Kong.

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Art

Louis Vuitton Opens “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez” Exhibition in NYC

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Last night Louis Vuitton took over New York City’s former American Stock Exchange for a new exhibition titled “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton.” The installation was curated by Olivier Saillard, delving back into the history of the fashion house, from 1854 to present day.

As could be expected, the opening was a star-studded affair, as Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, LVMH and Michael Burke, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Louis Vuitton were on-hand alongside the likes of Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Williams, Léa Seydoux, Jaden Smith, Adèle Exarchopoulos Justin Theroux and Alexander Skarsgard.

Free and open to the public through January 7, 2018, the exhibition is split into ten thematic chapters, diving into the Louis Vuitton archives.

In related news, ‘WTAPS 01’ dives into the 20-year history of WTAPS.

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