Thursday, May 11, 2006
Louis Vuitton’s new handbag line is named after the Johannesburg suburb of Illovo, because it impressed him so. That’s what it said.
Shut up, seriously?
I live in Illovo. The pretty side. The Dunkeld side, to be precise. My flat is positioned within walking distance of a pizzeria, a video shop, a Kung Fu Kitchen, a corner café, a 7/11, a bottle store, a bike shop (convenient if I want to buy a Vespa), the Wanderer’s cricket stadium, a nut wholesaler, a dance studio, a key cutsmith (?), a Greek restaurant. Convenience doesn’t get much better than this, especially in a city where nobody walks.
When I first arrived in Johannesburg as an impressionable graduate refugee fresh from Cape Town, I knew nothing about this big, bad city and moved straight into a box in Fourways. I had to get into my car and drive 2 kilometres alongside indistinguishable Tuscan villas and car dealerships just to buy milk.
So you can imagine how happy I am now. There’s something extremely rare about being able to stumble home across the road after too many ouzos. So I love living where I do, it has essentially made me fall in love with Jozi.
But name a handbag line after my suburb? There are prettier suburbs in Joburg that’s for sure. When did Mr Vuitton visit anyhow? Was he driving through? Yelling at his chauffeur, “Arretez Winston! Sacre bleu! This. Place. Is. Incredible. I haven’t been so inspired since the day I first laid eyes on the Champs Elysees. This long row of apartment blocks juxtaposed with a traffic circle is quite fucking exquisite. I’m going to name my 2006 winter collection after this suburb.”
If you have to name your new range after a Joburg suburb, Illovo isn’t the first place to spring to mind. It’s a little random to say the least.
It just makes more sense for a handbag guru guy to name his new line ‘Louis Vuitton Saxonwold’, or ‘Louis Vuitton Parkhurst’, or even ‘Louis Vuitton Houghton’. People living in these plush, tree-lined suburbs are his target market afterall.
But bless his little cotton draws for choosing Illovo. It may be split by a busy prostitute-smattering, taxi scourging Oxford Road; it may have a large number of law firms plonked in the middle; it may even have a strange Rasta guy living on the traffic island intersecting Corlett and Bompas. It may not be the most glamourous place in the world, but I am really quite fond of it. Thanks for choosing it, Lou. Biggie up.