Thakoon took a bite out of Masaai plaid (see below) for their F/W '11 collection and Louis Vuitton followed suit for their Resort 2012 menswear collection. Fashion continues its obsession with Kenya - from kanga print, to vibrant beads, and now the Masaai's statement plaid print, and this is by no means Louis Vuitton's first - or last - foray into Africa. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Kim Jones, Style Director at Louis Vuitton Menswear, cites Africa as a strong influence having spent part of his childhood there, so the Masaai reference shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
More luxury brands are looking to artisans in general and African in particular to infuse their heritage with crafts, culture, and ethics. Others have continued to turn to Africa for inspiration, pure and simple, and Louis Vuitton has had a number of notable Africa-related moments in recent times:
Many will remember Louis Vuitton's Ghana-must-go inspiration for Spring 2007 - Africa's ubiquitous checkered bag elevated to luxury symbol in the hands of Louis Vuitton:
Also, not too long ago, one Vogue reviewer described Louis Vuitton's Spring 2009 collection as 'Josephine Baker African razzmatazz':
Finally, Louis Vuitton's Core Values campaign signed on Bono and Ali last year and featured a little piece of Africa: A charm made in Kenya by local artisans under the guidance of MADE -
What do Africa and luxury have in common? Quite a bit, apparently.