MEET ARTIST, JAY AHR
NOVEMBER 15, 2018 | 5.00PM TO 8.30PM
New World Tower, Hong Kong
The bags showcased in the Vintage Louis Vuitton Keepalls by Jay Ahr collection are truly unique, utterly stylish, and practical enough to get a workout every time you travel. Dig a little deeper and you will discover each piece also tells a story rich with consideration and craftsmanship.
Here, On Pedder sits with Jonathan Riss, aka Jay Ahr – to discover why these covetable bags are impressively thoughtful, turning every vintage piece into an artisanal object of art.
1. How did you start collecting vintage Louis Vuitton bags?
My collection of vintage Louis Vuitton Keepall bags total 980 pieces. Each one has its own story. For example, one bag made in 1977 was a gift from my mother who gave it to me 25 years ago. Then, I started collecting them from everywhere I’ve been travelling to over the last five years – Central and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
The authentication of every bag is an important criteria in the research of its history.
2. What was your inspiration behind the different themes?
I was looking for an iconic object that reflects travel and stamped by time. The Louis Vuitton Keepall bag was created almost 100 years ago, and is obviously something you can find around the world. I have used it as a canvas and placed it in a situation where we could imagine that this bag being bought 30 years ago, and soaked by its culture. I wanted to transform this traveling lifestyle into a new culture of diversity and recreate pieces that talks about political events.
3. The craftsmanship on the bags are impressive, can you tell us a little more about the embroidery process?
I have combined all my archives of embroidery from the last 20 years to create this collection including stocks of beads, sequins and yarn – some up to 100 years old. I collaborated with survival minority tribes with the exceptional talent of embroidery craft from different continents and developed techniques to distress the embroidery in a way that connects the artwork to the year the bag was created.
Each bag is completely pulled apart, keeping all of the original yarn. Once the embroidery process is complete, we rebuild every bag.
4. How long does it take to craft a single Keepall?
The most complicated process is to organise minority tribes from Peru, Teheran, Thailand, Gabon or Angola to embroider bags with their own craft. This in itself took more than one year. Then, it takes an average of two months for the embroidery process of each bag to be completed.
5. One of the bags available features the ‘Purple Rain’ cover album. What was your inspiration behind this piece?
Every bag is allocated to a design in relation to its provenance, manufactured year and grade. The ‘Purple Rain’ cover album was created on a Keepall manufactured in 1984, precisely the same year that Purple Rain was released.
For this special event, we have created a cover album embroidery dedicated to the legendary Leslie Cheung.
View and shop the collection, available exclusively at On Pedder.