Collaboration has become an overused term. It’s right up there with “ideate.” For brands, partnering with an artist/celebrity/other brand offers a way to create some buzz (another awful word). Oftentimes, the results fall flat. But when it works, it really works. When two creative forces come together to collaborate on a product that combines the best of each party’s DNA, the results can be exceptional.
That happened a few times in 2014. Here are the best collaborations of the year.
Karl Lagerfeld x Louis Vuitton Punching Bag
Karl Lagerfeld has been a fashion heavyweight forever. But for his partnership with Louis Vuitton, Lagerfeld focused on a different kind of heavyweight. This $175,000 punching bag and boxing set featuring the LV logo is so ridiculous it’s awesome.
The Hundreds x Modernica “CMYK” Fiberglass Arm Shell Rocker
The iconic rocking chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames got a colorful update thanks to the folks at The Hundreds. The CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, key (black) printing process is familiar to any designer, and was the inspiration for this chair that utilized each of the four colors.
McLaren x Specialized S-Works Tarmac
Few people in the world know more about carbon fiber than the folks at McLaren, who use plenty of the material on their line of supercars. McLaren shared that expertise with the bike builders at Specialized to build a top of the line road bike. Almost everything but the tires and chain on this limited edition bike (only 250 were made) is carbon. That makes the Tarmac light, stiff, and expensive. The price tag for one of these was $20,000.
Mophie x Opening Ceremony Varsity Jacket
Opening Ceremony co-opted the varsity jacket from high school jocks and gave it to the geeks. The results are pretty awesome. The jacket with gold leather sleeves and OC varsity letters on the chest, also has a removable Mophie power station that is stashed on the inside pocket so that you can charge your phone on the go.
Pharrell Williams x Kaws x Comme des Garçons Girl Fragrance
Don’t be thrown off by the name, this is a unisex fragrance whose name comes from Pharrell’s most recent album. Pharrell was part of a bunch of solid collabs in 2014 (His work for Adidas was top notch) but this triple venture bringing together the artist Kaws and the fashion house Comme des Garçons stood out for its creative packaging. You almost don’t care what it smells like.
Supreme x Brooks Brothers Suit
When two brands that seem like they have nothing in common come together, the results can be brilliant. That’s what happened when Supreme, the bastion of downtown skater cool, teamed up with Brooks Brothers, a symbol of uptown prep. The resulting seersucker suit with a star print lining was equally at home at a Martha’s Vineyard wedding as it was at a Bed-Stuy punk show.
Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout
Sriracha makes everything better, even beer. Oregon-based Rogue Brewery used Huy Fong hot chili sauce to create a stout with a spicy kick. You’ll want to drink it. You’ll want to cook with it. You’ll want to bathe in it. (Too far?)
Louisville Slugger x Shwood Sunglasses
Shwood makes eyewear out of wood, so partnering with baseball bat maker Louisville Slugger made perfect sense. The collection of sunglasses used the same ash wood that Louisville Slugger uses to make bats and then flame-tempered the glasses to give them that woodgrain look.
Marilyn Monroe x Burton Snowboards Custom
Who wouldn’t want to stare down at a gorgeous pinup shot of Marilyn Monroe while riding on a chairlift? The biggest challenge with this board is not getting too distracted by the photo on the topsheet that you end up plowing into a tree.